No Holiday Bounce For PCs In 2015, But Mac Sales Bucked The Trend

Analyst Gartner has charted the fifth consecutive quarter of PC shipment declines, reporting today that holiday sales of full-fat computers fell by 8.3 per cent in Q4 2015 — and by 8 per cent for the year overall.

Shipments decreased in all regions, with the analyst suggesting interest in other consumer electronics devices, such as TVs and wearables, contributed to depressing PC sales over the holiday period.

All tracked PC vendors saw declines, according to the analyst, with the exception of Apple which bucked the trend — with Gartner charting a 2.8 per cent rise in Mac sales in Q4 compared to the same quarter in 2014; and a 5.8 per cent growth rate for 2015 vs 2014.

Apple shipped around 20.7 million Macs in total last year, according to Gartner’s figures, and almost 5.7 million in Q4. Although even the Mac maker’s Q4 growth was down on the same quarter in the previous year; Gartner recorded an 11.5 per cent rise for Apple Mac sales in Q4 2014 vs Q4 2013.

Meanwhile Lenovo, the largest PC vendor, saw a 4.2 per cent decline in shipments in Q4 last year, with its shipments dropping 3.1 per cent in 2015 overall. Gartner notes these declines were less bad than the industry average, allowing Lenovo to extend its PC market lead. The vendor shipped 57.1 million PCs in 2015, with 15.3 million of those in the Q4 holiday quarter.

Second largest PC vendor, HP, weathered a tougher year, with an 8.1 per cent decline in shipments between Q4 2015 and the same quarter in 2014; and a 4.4 per cent shipment slide overall for the year. HP shipped 52.5 million PCs overall in 2015, with 14.2 million of those in Q4.

Dell, Acer and Asus all also saw shipment declines, with Acer recording the largest decreases — dropping 15.3 per cent for the year overall, and 11.2 per cent in Q4.

Gartner is projecting a softer decline for overall PC shipments this year — forecasting a decline of just 1 per cent for the year, and suggesting there’s potential for “a soft recovery” in late 2016. However it notes the market is still in the middle of structural change which will reduce the PC installed base in the next few years. Aka mobile devices are continuing to eat the traditional PC’s lunch.

Also putting out PC market estimates, analyst IDC yesterday pegged the quarterly PC shipment decline in Q4 last year at 10.6 per cent — the worst drop it’s recorded since tracking the market.

It also notes Apple’s emergence as a top five global PC vendor in 2015 — asserting Cupertino’s trend buckling growth “shows that there can be strong demand for innovative, even premium-priced systems that put user experience first”.