Both Gartner and IDC have released their preliminary research on global PC shipments for the third quarter, 2016, painting a grim picture for manufacturers and resellers alike amid continuing year-on-year declines in the market segment.
According to Gartner, worldwide PC shipments totaled 68.9 million units in the third quarter, a 5.7 per cent decline from the third quarter last year. Likewise, IDC reports shipments of nearly 68 million during the quarter, citing a decline of 3.9 per cent compared to the same period last year.
In Asia Pacific, the rate of year-on-year decline was greater than the global average, with the region seeing shipments of 24.7 million PC units, a 7.6 drop in shipments compared to the previous year.
However, early indicators show that the PC vendors performed better than in the second quarter, according to Gartner. This has been attributed to vendors lowering channel inventory coming into the quarter and replenishing stock for seasonal back-to-school demand.
Meanwhile, PC shipments in China are estimated to have declined 4.8 percent, according to the analyst firm, with consumer sales in the country driven by notebook shipments. At the same time, the business market in China was driven by desktop PCs due to cost and computing effectiveness.
Gartner noted that its third quarter figures represented the eighth consecutive quarter of PC shipment decline, the longest duration of continued decline in the history of the PC industry.
"There are two fundamental issues that have impacted PC market results: the extension of the lifetime of the PC caused by the excess of consumer devices, and weak PC consumer demand in emerging markets," said Gartner principal analyst, Mikako Kitagawa.
"According to our 2016 personal technology survey, 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.
"In emerging markets, PC penetration is low, but consumers are not keen to own PCs. Consumers in emerging markets primarily use smartphones or phablets for their computing needs, and they don't find the need to use a PC as much as consumers in mature markets," she said.
Meanwhile, IDC has taken a more optimistic view, suggesting that its latest statistics reflect better than expected shipments in the sector, revealing that the results were about 3.2 per cent ahead of its projections.
IDC’s said its better-than-expected results reflect competition among the market leaders, and an effort to capitalise on market consolidation and future stabilisation. Like Gartner, IDC attributes the trend to a change in inventory management, with PC vendors now rebuilding inventory for the second half of the year after struggling to reduce inventory over the past year or more.
"We are very pleased to see some improvement in the market," said IDC worldwide PC trackers and forecasting vice president, Loren Loverde. "Industry efforts to update products to leverage new processors and operating systems, to deliver a better computing experience encompassing more mobile, secure, and faster systems, and to accelerate PC replacements have been critical.
“These improvements are accumulating, and set the stage for a stronger market going forward," he said.
In the Asia Pacific market, IDC said that the PC market came in slightly above expectations, even if it remained constrained, with shipments declining year-on-year. Efforts to reduce channel inventory continued, allowing for stronger than expected sell-in in China, the research firm said.
According to Gartner’s figures, Lenovo continued to be the leading PC vendor worldwide, shipping 14.4 million units in the quarter and comprising 20.9 per cent of the global market share. HP, in second place, drew nearer to Lenovo’s lead, increasing its year-on-year shipments for the quarter by 2.3 per cent, to 14 million units.
The two market leaders were followed by Dell, Asus, Apple, and Acer, which shipped 10.1 million, 5.4 million, 4.9 million, and 4.6 million units, respectively.
IDC placed Lenovo’s market share for the quarter slightly higher, at 21.3 per cent, with 14.5 million units shipped, and HP at 21.2 per cent market share, with 13.9 million units.