Computer sales not a matter of life and death, they're more important than that

Can PC makers survive the 2016 sales drought? Yes. No. Answers on a postcard

Warmer business sentiments towards Windows 10, Intel’s latest chip architecture and stabilising currencies still won’t translate into swelling PC sales this year.

The entrail pokers at Gartner have spoken, and while device shipments are tipped to grow 1.9 per cent in 2016 to 2.44bn units, it won’t be the classic computer that is fuelling this expansion.

“Consolidation will be a real issue for the PC vendors,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at the tech industry soothsayer.

Indeed it will. Texan Mick, CEO at PC maker Dell predicted last year his company, along with HP Inc and Lenovo will account for four fifths of PCs sales by 2020. Subsequently, a bunch of lower ranked vendors including Acer and Fujitsu insisted they wouldn’t be the ones to exit.

In Gartner’s body box count, some 232m traditional PCs are expected to be shipped in 2016, equating to a 1.7 per cent drop on 2015.

The “slow and painful reduction” of PC inventories that plagued retailers and distributors last year has started to clear, the analyst said, and currency is stabilising compared to the prior 12 months.

Atwal said a “shorter testing and evaluation period” for Windows 10 bodes well for business PCs in 2017. He reckoned businesses are still spending cautiously but this will start to change nearer year-end.

“Business sentiment toward Windows 10 looks very good, because it is not just relevant to the device but the IT department in terms of bigger projects around cloud, security and mobility”.

Ultra mobiles are projected to grow to 55m from 45m in 2016; some 195 tabs are estimated to hit the channel, down one million; and smartphones are forecast to reach 1.96bn, up 2.56 per cent.

Gartner said end user spending in constant currency is expected to dip for the first time, down 0.5 per cent to $641bn. This largely because users are buying cheaper smartphones. ®

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