In-line with expectations, sales of computers declined for the eight consecutive quarter in Q3 2016.
According to statistics published by Gartner, global sales of PCs fell 5.7 percent versus the year before, to a level of 68.95 million units in Q3 2016. The research agency blames the extension of the lifetime of the PC by the excess of consumer devices, as well as weak demand in emerging markets. Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa claims the PC is no longer a high priority device for the majority of consumers in developed markets, as a lot of people now use smartphones and tablets to surf the web.
"There are two fundamental issues that have impacted PC market results: the extension of the lifetime of the PC caused by the excess of consumer devices, and weak PC consumer demand in emerging markets," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "According to our 2016 personal technology survey, the majority of consumers own, and use, at least three different types of devices in mature markets. Among these devices, the PC is not a high priority device for the majority of consumers, so they do not feel the need to upgrade their PCs as often as they used to. Some may never decide to upgrade to a PC again.
"In emerging markets, PC penetration is low, but consumers are not keen to own PCs. Consumers in emerging markets primarily use smartphones or phablets for their computing needs, and they don't find the need to use a PC as much as consumers in mature markets."
While the overall PC market didn't do well, HP, Dell and ASUS managed to increase their sales by 2.3 percent, 2.6 percent, and 2.4 percent, respectively. Lenovo on the other hand saw its sales decline by 2.4 percent, Apple's Mac sales collapsed 13.4 percent and Acer suffered a 14.1 percent drop. Full details over here.
IDC always publishes its PC market report on the same date as Gartner. Their methodology is a bit different, IDC claims worldwide PC sales came in at 68 million units in Q3 2016, a drop of 3.9 percent versus the same period a year ago. This research agency claims the drop in sales was lower than expected and that it has now seen two consecutive quarters of volume growth in the PC market. However, while IDC sees some improvement, it may be too early to speak about a rebirth of the PC market as the increase in demand is primarily driven by increased demand from the retail channel for inventory:
"We are very pleased to see some improvement in the market," said Loren Loverde, vice president, Worldwide PC Trackers & Forecasting. "Industry efforts to update products to leverage new processors and operating systems, to deliver a better computing experience encompassing more mobile, secure, and faster systems, and to accelerate PC replacements have been critical. These improvements are accumulating, and set the stage for a stronger market going forward."
"Although we've now seen two consecutive quarters of strong market growth, we believe the strong market performance has less to do with strengthening demand and more to do with increased appetite from the channel for inventory," added Linn Huang, research director, Devices & Displays. "We will need a strong holiday season to ensure that we don't enter 2017 in a poor inventory situation."