Intel Skylake delays, Win10 and stock glut blamed for Q4 PC sales shrinkage

But wait... can you see green shoots? Maybe if you clamber over the last remaining boxes

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PC sales into the EMEA channel bombed in Q4 - it was partly the fault of Microsoft for releasing a free upgrade to Win10 but mostly due to high stocks levels that continued to plague retailers and disties.

The mages at Gartner estimated that 22.5 million boxes were shipped into third party sellers in the final quarter of 2015, this was down 16.1 per cent year-on-year or by 4.32 million units.

People simply aren’t buying traditional computing gear in the way they were - the stuff they have is good enough and chip advances or OS releases just don’t get folk scrambling for the wallets.

“High inventory levels afflicted Western Europe since the ‘Bing’ promotions which occurred a year ago, continuing to limit sell into the channel,” said Gartner principal research analyst Isabelle Durand.

The WinXP bubble popping and crappy sales over the 2014 Xmas period meant distributors and resellers bought in stock cautiously throughout the year.

No vendor escaped the glut last year, but Lenovo, which is chasing market share - it is aiming for 30 per cent globally - was forced to write down stocks in Europe to get its house in order.

In the summer, HP Inc blamed Microsoft and its release of Win10 for flaky sales of new gear, citing the late release of code to OEMs, the free upgrade for customers and already high inventory levels in distribution that made those companies cautious and buy-in.

Gartner said today the Q4 slowdown was perhaps exacerbated by the delay of Intel’s Skylake platform. IDC concurred, adding IT budgets also suffered from “instability and currency volatility”.

HP, Lenovo, Dell, Acer and the "others category" all declined by double digits in the quarter, but Asus grew 0.4 per cent - albeit helped by comparison with weakness in the prior year - Gartner stated.

But fear not PC makers, there might just be some light at the end of the tunnel of your own making; sales were up quarter-on-quarter 13 per cent, “which showed that inventories were finally being cleared out, leaving PC vendors in a better position for 2016”, said Durand.

Loren Loverde, analyst at IDC, agreed in this respect too, “PC replacements should pick up again in 2016, particularly later in the year. Commercial adoption of Windows 10 is expected to accelerate, and consumer buying should also stabilise by the second half”. ®


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