The personal computer (PC) industry celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2015. Back in the early days, PC was considered to be a highly technical device meant to be handled by experts only. Today it has become an integral part of the personal and professional life. In 1975, less than 50,000 PCs were sold with a value of about $60 million. The PC industry has grown to unit sales of over 517 million units in 2015 with the retail revenue topped at $383 billion.
With the market for multiple devices expected to surge in recent years, this is expected to have a significant impact on overall PC sales.
The Growth of PC Industry
The PC industry has recorded inconsistent growth over the last four years. After a surge in sales between late 2009 and early 2010, it has been a roller coaster ride for the industry. Since the Q1 of 2013, sales have been below 80 million units per quarter with two exceptions. These were the Q4 of 2013 with 82.92 million units and Q4 of 2014 with 83.74 million units. PC sales in the last quarter have dipped by about 10 percent against the same period in the previous year.
IDC and Gartner pegged the drop in sales for Q2 of 2015 at 11.8 percent and 9.5 percent respectively. According to IDC, all the vendors barring Apple reported a drop in sales in the range of 7.5 percent and 27 percent. Acer was the worst hit with a decline of 26.9 percent in the shipment of PCs against the same period in 2014. While Lenovo, Dell, ASUS and HP stayed between 7 percent and 10 percent, Apple recorded a rise of 16.1 percent in shipments this quarter, as per the IDC report.
Lenovo continued to have the greatest market share with 13.45 million units followed by HP (11.9 million) and Dell (9.5 million). Apple was placed fourth with 5.1 million units shipped. ASUS and Acer recorded 4.3 million units each. All the other vendors together had a combined shipment of 24.2 million units which was 10.2 percent less than Q2 of 2014.
PC Market In the US
According to IDC, the PC shipment figures in the USA were analyzed to gain insight into the effect of factors other than dollar exchange rate. Dell and Toshiba suffered the maximum impact with a drop of 8.6 percent followed by HP at 6.6 percent.
Apple’s shipments increased by 11.9 percent while Lenovo’s market soared by 8.8 percent.Apple and Lenovo clocked shipments of 2.2 million and 2.1 million respectively. Toshiba had the lowest market share with a shipment of 0.93 million units. HP and Dell topped the chart with shipments pegged at 4.26 and 3.92 million units respectively.
These figures showed a completely different picture as compared to the worldwide statistics. While there was a substantial difference in overall shipment, the order of top vendors and their individual shipment YOY growth was also different. When comparing total shipments in 2Q2015; HP, Dell and Apple have moved up in the US chart while Lenovo has gone down the list. On the other hand, Lenovo had shown a global reduction in shipment while the US proved to be a blessing where the shipments have actually increased this quarter. For Apple, the global and US data seem to be in line which might be attributed to a larger section of customers belonging to the US alone.
PC Market In Other Regions
As reported by Gartner, a decline of 15.7 percent in PC shipment was observed in EMEA region. The high levels of inventory present in Europe was a major concern. This was again attributed to the anticipation over the arrival of Windows 10. A minor decline of 2.9% was observed for PC shipments in Asia-Pacific. China was at a slightly higher decline with 4%. This included both mobile PC and desk-based systems.
Can Windows 10 Revive the Ailing Market
One of the primary reasons for this decline was the escalation in prices of PCs across various regions of the world. This was in turn attributed to two factors; strengthening of US dollars against various local currencies and the announcement of the release of Windows 10 by the end of July 2015. Since Windows XP support that phased out last year, there has been no major sales driver. The industry is looking forward to Windows 10 and this has led to inventory control in various regions across the globe. As noted above, the rise in Apple shipment is a direct indication that a larger part of the market has shrunk in anticipation of the impact of Windows 10. This has come as a boon for Apple as its recent upgrade of 12” MacBook is doing fairly well.
With a major section of the market putting their bets on Windows 10 and the exchange rate playing its own game, the stage is all set for one of the most crucial turnarounds in the PC industry. In a matter of few months, a lot of clouds will be dispersed and a clearer picture can be seen. Hope it’s as pleasant as the Windows XP Bliss Nature and Landscape.