Analysis: The Declining PC Market
 
As you will or have heard on DTNS the latest numbers for PC shipments in Q4 came out and the market is falling. Q4 is often a bright spot for sales but for the PC market anymore.

IDC pegged the decline in Q4 at 10.6% year-over-year.

Gartner showed it as 8.3%


For all of 2015, IDC showed shipments down 10.4% and Gartner pegged it right at 8%.


In IDC’s numbers, Apple and Asus were the only manufacturers to rise in Q4 year-over-year with a gain of 2.8% for Apple and 0.8% for Asus.


Lenovo still shipped the most with a 20% market share but shipments falling 4.5%.


Gartner agreed with most of that except showing a 3.2% decline for Asus.


OK SO WHY THE FALLING PC MARKET?


Analysts blame the slowing Chinese market. That’s for sure. China is a big consumer of PCs and sales of everything have started to slow there so that can take a huge chunk.


Another reason is a strong dollar. That makes PCs more expensive in many regions of the world. Continuing growth of smartphones and mobile devices east in a little. And IDC notes that the free Windows 10 upgrade may have dissuaded folks from purchasing a new PC. In other words when you had to buy a new Windows for more than $100 a lot of folks just used that as an excuse to upgrade. When Windows is free, it doesn’t give the nudge.


WHAT I THINK


I don’t disagree with any of that but here are the two main factors I think play into personal decisions to buy PCs.


1. PCs last longer. I used to upgrade my main machine (be it laptop or desktop) at least every 18 months. I’ve had this current MacBook Pro since August 2012 and haven’t run into the slowdowns I used to. Partly because of the solid state drive. Someone not as driven to upgrade as me will go more years between machines


2. More options. For the person who just needed a PC to write some email and browse the Web, they have more devices to choose from. Tablets and phones now pick up a lot of the work. So that definitely takes another chunk out of PC buyers.


SO WHAT NOW?


PCs have become a commodity device. If you can spin out an ecosystem or make it a lifestyle choice device like Apple does, you can buck the trend of holding onto PCs for longer and maybe convince people to add a laptop where they might not have before.


But by and large PCs are settling into a baseline of what the form factor is really needed for. Mostly for desktops that’s a specialty use like an editing machine, gaming machine etc. For laptops it’s a type of worker that still needs a solid keyboard, true multi-tasking, and maybe a larger screen and storage.


WHAT DO YOU THINK?


Tell us what you use PCs (desktop or laptop) for and what you think the PC market is up to.