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2015's horror PC market dropped nine per cent

ASUS grew a smidge, Apple nearly 3% (and if you add iPad sales it's number two)

PC sales ended 2015 on a low note, according to analyst firms IDC and Gartner.

The former firm says 2015's final quarter saw 71,889,000 PCs fly off assembly lines around the world, -10.6 per cent growth compared to the same quarter in 2014. Gartner's numbers are similarly grim: 75.7 million shipped for the quarter, down 8.3 per cent on Q4 2014's number.

Numbers for the full year are also grim, as the table below shows, with .

Vendor Gartner 2015 shipments Gartner 2015 market share Gartner 2014-2015 growth IDC 2015 shipments IDC 2015 market share IDC 2014-2015 growth
Lenovo 15,384 20.3 -4.2 15,394 21.40% -4.50%
HP 14,206 18.8 -8.1 14,290 19.90% -10.10%
Dell 10,236 13.5 -5.1 10,169 14.10% -5.70%
Asus 6,002 7.9 -3.2 5,713 7.90% 0.80%
Apple 5,675 7.5 2.8 5,658 7.90% 2.80%
Acer Group 5,277 7 -11.2      
Others 18,940 25 -16.3 20,664 28.70% -21.90%

As the numbers show, only one PC-maker has something to smile about and it's technically not a PC-maker: Apple clocked up 6.2 per cent growth according to IDC and 5.8 per cent according to Gartner. None of the other top five vendors managed growth, with Lenovo the least bad by at least keeping a “3” in front of its sales decline.

Neither Gartner nor IDC count tablets as PCs. But let's have some fun and see what would happen if they did. Apple tells Business Wire that it sold 33,437,000 iPads in the first 270 days of 2015. Let's generously assume that July-September's sales of 9,883,000 jumped to ten million thanks to Christmas and the advent of the iPad pro, we get annual sales of 43 million iPads plus change. Among the leading PC vendors, only Lenovo has a decent tablet business that, on our analysis of IDC and Gartner data, runs at about 12 million a year. Samsung looks to sell about 30 million tablets a year.

If we keep the fun rolling and do the sums, the numbers emerge as follows.

Others 81,800,500
Lenovo 70,000,000
Apple 62,680,000
HP 53,042,500
Dell 39,104,000
Samsung 30,000,000
Acer 20,767,500

Throw in Apple's 200 million or so annual iPhone sales, and Cupertino comes out way, way ahead as the planet's dominant source of computing devices.

Yes, Windows and Android can claim more devices in total each year. But Apple clearly has a colossal market, as if that needed pointing out given its astounding financial performance.

But back to the PC market. IDC says Windows 10's arrival in business should help sales to pick up, as should upgrades made by consumers who've been putting it off for a while. Gartner sees “potential for a soft recovery in late 2016”, with Windows 10 for business again a likely driver.

Both analysts say Christmas hardly moved the PC sales needle, with Gartner suggesting wearables were the hot item under the tree. ®

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