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Channel will have to wait until second half for PC lift

The long expected impact of Windows 10 and the Skylake CPU is going to take a few more months to show up in PC sales figures according to both IDC and Gartner

Those waiting for the PC industry to improve must feel a bit like a frustrated commuter standing at a lonely bus stop looking searchingly down the road for signs of movement.

Like the preverbial three buses there are reasons why this year should see the PC industry improve - Windows 10, Intel's Skylake CPU and a host of very attractive products being unveiled at CES - but they are yet to have a major impact.

Although most of the factors that could drive increased PC spending are expected to filter into sales figures throughout the course of the next few months the starting place for the PC industry in 2016 is not great given yet another double digit decline in the last quarter of 2015.

The latest analysis of the PC market from IDC showed a 10.6% year-on-year decline in global shipments in Q4, slightly worse than Gartner numbers, which put the drop at 8.3%.

EMEA saw double digit declines according to both analyst houses. Gartner highlighted how the UK had run some strong Windows 10 promotions over the holiday period but pointed to high inventory levels as an ongoing issue in the region. IDC also pointed to the clear out of older Windows 8 machines as one of the issues that caused problems in Western Europe in Q4.

The analysts are stressing that things should stabilise and there should be a move by customers to refresh PC stocks later this year leading to a 'soft recovery'.

"On the business side, Windows 10 generally received positive reviews, but as expected, Windows 10 migration was minor in the fourth quarter as many organizations were just starting their testing period," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.

Gartner is predicting a 1% decline this year compared with last with a rallying in the market towards the tail end of 2016.

Over at IDC there was also an expectation that the current problems would start to ebb away and the long awaited pick up in sales would be something the channel could look forward to at some point after the second half.

"The PC market remains competitive and the economic environment weakened further with the recent drop in the Chinese stock market," said Loren Loverde , IDC vice president, Worldwide PC Tracker.

"However, PC replacements should pick up again in 2016, particularly later in the year. Commercial adoption of Windows 10 is expected to accelerate, and consumer buying should also stabilize by the second half of the year," she added.

"Most PC users have delayed an upgrade, but can only maintain this for so long before facing security and performance issues. We continue to believe that a majority of these users will purchase another PC, motivated by new products and attractive pricing."

In terms of vendors Lenovo continues to hold the top spot in the market and suffered lower drops that its rivals.

HP and Dell continue to hold second and third slots and out of the rest the two strong performers were Asus and Apple, which both were able to deliver year-on-year growth in Q4 according to IDC.

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