Gartner Says Worldwide PC Shipments Declined 9.5 Per Cent in Second Quarter of 2015

EMEA Market Declined 15.7 Per Cent / PC Industry Faces Slowdown as Industry Anticipates the Launch of Windows 10

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Worldwide PC shipments totalled 68.4 million units in the second quarter of 2015, a 9.5 per cent decline from the second quarter of 2014, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. This was the steepest PC shipment decline since the third quarter of 2013. PC shipments are projected to decline 4.4 per cent in 2015.

There were many contributors to the decline of PC shipments in the second quarter of 2015, and Gartner analysts highlighted three of the major reasons for the drop in shipments. Analysts emphasised that these inhibitors are temporary events, and they are not changing the PC market's structure. Therefore, while the PC industry is going through a decline, the market is expected to go back to slow and steady growth in 2016.

"The price hike of PCs became more apparent in some regions due to a sharp appreciation of the US dollar against local currencies," Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "The price hike could hinder PC demand in these regions. Secondly, the worldwide PC market experienced unusually positive desk-based growth last year due to the end of Windows XP support. After the XP impact was phased out, there have not been any major growth drivers to stimulate a PC refresh. Lastly, the Windows 10 launch scheduled for 3Q15 has created self-regulated inventory control. PC vendors and the channels tried clearing inventory as much as possible before the Windows 10 launch."

Lenovo maintained the top position in worldwide PC shipments in the second quarter of 2015 (see Table 1), but the company suffered a year-on-year shipment decline for the first time since the second quarter of 2013. Latin America, Japan and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) were tough regions for Lenovo, as the company experienced double-digit shipment declines. HP also experienced a shipment decline after five consecutive quarters of PC shipment growth. HP showed a steep decline in EMEA, which was potentially due to the currency impact. The company was also impacted by tight inventory controls in the consumer market before the Windows 10 launch.

For the second consecutive quarter, Dell experienced a decline in PC shipments. Dell's decline was relatively moderate in EMEA compared with Lenovo and HP. Analysts said this could be partly attributed to Dell's lower presence in the consumer market, which created less impact to Dell from the Windows 10 prelaunch inventory control.

In the US, PC shipments totalled 15.1 million units in the second quarter of 2015, a 5.8 per cent decline from the second quarter of 2014 (see Table 2). The decline was led by a double-digit decline of desk-based shipments, which offset single-digit growth of mobile PCs. Based on preliminary results, the desk-based PC shipment decline was the steepest since 2009 when the market was hit by the economic crisis.

"The weakness of desk-based PC shipments in the second quarter of 2015 is partly due to relatively large shipments in the second quarter last year when the market was driven by the end of XP support," Ms Kitagawa said. "Despite inventory controls for the Windows 10 launch, mobile PC shipments grew in the quarter, which resulted in five consecutive quarters of mobile PC growth in the US. Affordable thin/light notebooks are attracting more business buyers."

HP maintained the top position for PC shipments in the US in the second quarter of 2015 despite a 10.1 per cent decline (see Table 2). Dell narrowed the gap with HP compared with a year ago. Lenovo was the only vendor showing year-over-year PC shipment growth among the top five vendors in the US

Asia/Pacific PC shipments reached 24.2 million units in the second quarter of 2015, a 2.9 per cent decline from the same period last year. Both desk-based and mobile PC shipments declined from the second quarter of 2014. PC shipments in China are estimated to have declined 4 per cent in the quarter as demand for consumer PCs remained weak.

PC shipments in EMEA totalled 18.6 million units in the second quarter of 2015 (see Table 3), a decline of 15.7 per cent from the same period last year.

"The PC results in EMEA saw variations among the countries," said Isabelle Durand, principal research analyst at Gartner.

The PC market slowed in Western Europe and Eurasia. In Eurasia, both Russia and Ukraine, the largest markets in the region, continued to struggle with strong unit shipment declines. While the overall currency exchange situation in Russia has slightly improved and stabilised, device providers and retailers limited their inventory in the second quarter of 2015. Unstable exchange rates are also preventing many government organisations from purchasing devices in local currency, and device vendors do not want to commit to pricing in rubles in the current economic climate until the situation is stable and predictable.

Eastern Europe recorded single-digit growth, which was fuelled by consumer and small or midsize business purchases. PC markets in the Middle East and Africa remained challenging due to political instability and currency fluctuations. The region was also impacted by high levels of inventory in the channel and general elections in Nigeria and Turkey.

HP retained the No. 1 position in EMEA. The top five vendors in EMEA all showed shipment declines, which was mainly caused by weakness in the desktop PC market and a slowdown in consumer purchases.

"Vendors spent most of the quarter managing high inventory levels," said Ms Durand. "They tried to clear their inventory with promotions and absorbed this with lower margins. We expect in the third quarter of 2015 to see better sales into the channel with the launch of new Windows 10-based devices."

These results are preliminary. Final statistics will be available soon to clients of Gartner's PC Quarterly Statistics Worldwide by Region program. This program offers a comprehensive and timely picture of the worldwide PC market, allowing product planning, distribution, marketing and sales organisations to keep abreast of key issues and their future implications around the globe.
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