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PC sales decline but Europe benefits from Windows 10 release

Windows 10 help PC sales in Europe, but tablets and the strong US dollar make a negative impact

The latest PC market share report from Gartner has shown that the market declined 8% worldwide in 2015 compared with 2014.

Worldwide PC shipments were 75.7 million units in the fourth quarter of 2015, an 8.3% decline from the fourth quarter of 2014, according to preliminary results by Gartner.

PC shipments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa was 22.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2015, a decline of 16% year-over-year.

According to Gartner, in some countries in western Europe – such as the UK – PC sales benefited from Windows 10 promotions during the holiday season. It also stated that PC shipments in the French market remained good.

The report suggested that overall high inventory levels plagued western Europe. In eastern Europe, the PC market experienced modest growth in low-single digits, driven by consumer demand for new hybrid devices and PC replacements to move to Windows 10.

Take-up of tablets negatively affected PC sales, with 2015 the fourth consecutive year of decline, which started in 2012 with the launch of tablets. The strong US dollar also affected the market.

“In 2015, local currency devaluation also played a key role in the market conditions,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.

“Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Latin America and Japan faced a major impact from the devaluation, showing double-digit declines in 2015. In contrast, the US and Asia-Pacific experienced minor declines of almost flat to low single-digit declines, as the currency issue did not affect these regions.”

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Lenovo remains the largest PC manufacturer, accounting for 19.8% of PC shipments, followed by HP with 18.2% market share. Dell was the third largest PC maker, accounting for 13.6% market share.

Windows 10 to boost market

Analyst IDC reported the PC market declined 10.6% in 2015. The analyst stated: “The PC market continued to face persistent challenges from longer PC lifecycles and competition from mobile phones and tablets, despite the slowing growth in those markets.

“However, economic issues – such as falling commodity prices and weak international currencies, as well as social disruptions in Europe, the Middle-East and Africa and Asia-Pacific that affected foreign markets – were a larger factor for 2015.”

According to IDC, changes in the operating systems (OS) market also had a significant effect, with the end of support for Windows XP and promotions of low-cost PCs driving a surge in replacements in 2014 that combined with the launch of Windows 10 and a free upgrade program to delay new system purchases in 2015.

As the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has shown, the PC industry is responding to the continued decline by pushing Windows 10 ultrabooks, tablets and hybrid devices. Thanks to Microsoft’s efforts to make Windows 10 work across these platforms in a seamless way, the industry hopes the latest OS will boost sales.

IDC believes it will take a while for people to buy the new generation of PCs. “While some very attractive PCs have been launched, the market is taking some time to respond to new OS and hardware configurations – deciding when to upgrade and evaluating slim, convertible, detachable and touch variations versus more traditional PCs.

“Nevertheless, many of these products have received positive reviews and there’s potential for a faster commercial transition to Windows 10 in 2016 than we saw for prior versions of Windows.”

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