PC sales sinking almost as fast as Donald Trump's poll numbers

68 million units a quarter and falling as 'Some consumers may never upgrade a PC again'

New data from analyst outfits IDC and Gartner suggest the PC market continues to crater.

The latter firm's 3Q2016 data records an eighth consecutive quarter of shipment decreases, to 68.9 million units or a 5.7 per cent decline from the third quarter of 2015. IDC found “nearly 68 million units in the third quarter of 2016 (3Q16), a year-on-year decline of 3.9 per cent”, but also noted a little upside as that's 3.2 per cent better than it expected.

IDC reckons the less-bad-than-expected performance is a sign that PC-makers have finally started making kit capable of exciting consumers enough to buy a new machine.

Gartner thinks the opposite, with principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa opining that the firms's 2016 personal technology survey showed “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.”

Both firms also note the concentration of sales among the biggest few vendors. In years past “Other” or white box vendors accounted for up to half of the PC market. These days lesser vendors are fighting it out for about a quarter of the market.

Let's read the tale of the tape, starting with Gartner's stylish HTML table.

Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 3Q16 (Thousands of Units)





3Q16 Market
Share (%)




3Q15 Market
Share (%)


Growth (%)

Lenovo 14,434 20.9 14,789 20.2 -2.4
HP Inc. 14,058 20.4 13,744 18.8 2.3
Dell 10,111 14.7 9,856 13.5 2.6
Asus 5,397 7.8 5,271 7.2 2.4
Apple 4,946 7.2 5,709 7.8 -13.4
Acer 4,613 6.7 5,370 7.3 -14.1
Others 15,386 22.3 18,359 25.1 -16.2
Total     68,945     100.0     79,098     100.0     -5.7

IDC's tables remain rather old-school.

Top 5 Vendors, Worldwide PC Shipments, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth, Third Quarter 2016 (Preliminary) (Shipments are in thousands of units)


3Q16 Shipments

3Q16 Market Share

3Q15 Shipments

3Q15 Market Share

3Q16/3Q15 Growth

1. Lenovo






2. HP Inc.






3. Dell






4. Apple
























Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, October 11, 2016

IDC counts Chromebooks and Gartner doesn't, but both firms think they are doing well. IDC reckons Google's spawn “had another banner quarter in the K-12 market” in the United States. Gartner reckons parents give their kids old laptops to take to school but also feels Chromebooks “exceeded PC shipment growth”.

Both firms have also rated tablet shipments as in decline. Even smartphone sales are stalling. So perhaps there's a lot of that hand-me-down stuff going on, or people just aren't upgrading any of their kit as fast as was previously the case. ®

Broader topics

Other stories you might like

  • DuckDuckGo tries to explain why its browsers won't block Microsoft ad trackers
    Meanwhile, Tails 5.0 users told to stop what they're doing over Firefox flaw

    DuckDuckGo promises privacy to users of its Android, iOS browsers, and macOS browsers – yet it allows certain data to flow from third-party websites to Microsoft-owned services.

    Security researcher Zach Edwards recently conducted an audit of DuckDuckGo's mobile browsers and found that, contrary to expectations, they do not block Meta's Workplace domain, for example, from sending information to Microsoft's Bing and LinkedIn domains. Specifically, DuckDuckGo's software didn't stop Microsoft's trackers on the Workplace page from blabbing information about the user to Bing and LinkedIn for tailored advertising purposes. Other trackers, such as Google's, are blocked.

    "I tested the DuckDuckGo so-called private browser for both iOS and Android, yet neither version blocked data transfers to Microsoft's Linkedin + Bing ads while viewing Facebook's workplace[.]com homepage," Edwards explained in a Twitter thread.

    Continue reading
  • Despite 'key' partnership with AWS, Meta taps up Microsoft Azure for AI work
    Someone got Zuck'd

    Meta’s AI business unit set up shop in Microsoft Azure this week and announced a strategic partnership it says will advance PyTorch development on the public cloud.

    The deal [PDF] will see Mark Zuckerberg’s umbrella company deploy machine-learning workloads on thousands of Nvidia GPUs running in Azure. While a win for Microsoft, the partnership calls in to question just how strong Meta’s commitment to Amazon Web Services (AWS) really is.

    Back in those long-gone days of December, Meta named AWS as its “key long-term strategic cloud provider." As part of that, Meta promised that if it bought any companies that used AWS, it would continue to support their use of Amazon's cloud, rather than force them off into its own private datacenters. The pact also included a vow to expand Meta’s consumption of Amazon’s cloud-based compute, storage, database, and security services.

    Continue reading
  • Atos pushes out HPC cloud services based on Nimbix tech
    Moore's Law got you down? Throw everything at the problem! Quantum, AI, cloud...

    IT services biz Atos has introduced a suite of cloud-based high-performance computing (HPC) services, based around technology gained from its purchase of cloud provider Nimbix last year.

    The Nimbix Supercomputing Suite is described by Atos as a set of flexible and secure HPC solutions available as a service. It includes access to HPC, AI, and quantum computing resources, according to the services company.

    In addition to the existing Nimbix HPC products, the updated portfolio includes a new federated supercomputing-as-a-service platform and a dedicated bare-metal service based on Atos BullSequana supercomputer hardware.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022