PC market consolidates as shipments fall another 5.7 percent

Gartner reports the PC industry shipped some 69 million units in the third quarter of 2016. That’s a 5.7 decline on the same period in 2015 and the eighth consecutive quarter of falling sales.

Meanwhile, the business is consolidating into fewer and fewer hands. The top six PC brands accounted for 78 percent of all shipments during the quarter. That’s up from a shade under 75 percent a year earlier.

Gartner says Lenovo remains the leader with 20.9 percent of the global market. HP is a nose behind with 20.5 percent.

Realistically, the two are neck and neck given the margin of error in these kinds of reports. And anyway, the numbers are provisional. Gartner says these rankings could change when it publishes the final shipment results.

Lenovo may not stay at the top. Its sales have fallen for the last six quarters. A rebooted HP and Dell have both grown sales in the last year.

Acer is the biggest loser among the top brands. Its sales are down more than 16 percent on a year earlier. Apple also fell by double digits as customers wait for long overdue new Mac models.

You don’t need to be a market analyst to figure out why sales are falling. PCs are better made. They last longer than ever before and, away from gaming, there are less compelling reasons for regular upgrades.

Meanwhile a lot of users, especially in the developing world find that phones can handle all or most of their computing needs.

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

Company

3Q16 Shipments

3Q16 Market Share (%)

3Q15 Shipments

3Q15 Market Share (%)

3Q16-3Q15 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

Notes: Data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs and ultramobile premiums (such as Microsoft Surface), but not Chromebooks or iPads. All data is estimated based on a preliminary study. Final estimates will be subject to change. The statistics are based on shipments selling into channels. Source: Gartner (October 2016)