IDC said that worldwide shipments of PCs – including notebooks, desktops and servers – will fall by 10 percent in this, the fourth quarter, meaning growth for the whole of 2015 is likely to be 10.3 percent.
A strong US dollar, depressed commodity prices and existing stock in the channel mean that the first quarter of next year will also be lower than some expected.
However, IDC believes that shupments will stabilise by the end of next year and even grow towards the end of the year.
It believes that replacements for commercial replacements will stabilise and help grow the market, particularly so once Windows 10 is adopted by enterprises.
IDC’s Loren Loverde said that “very few people are giving up their PC – they are just making it last longer”.
In the week that microprocessor manufacturers Intel and AMD saw mixed financial results, it seems that the market for X86 based PCs has fallen again.
IDC reported that PC shipments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) accounted for 18.4 million units in the third quarter of 015.
That’s a fall of 23 percent compared to the same quarter last year. IDC analysts attribute the fall by a mixture of adverse currency fluctuations, political instability, and oversupply of PCs in the channel.
IDC said that shipments of machines using Windows 10 increased in September, but Microsoft’s decision to offer free upgrades means that demand wasn’t great. Companies are trying to sell the Windows 8 products still in the warehouses.
Maciek Gornicki, research manager at IDC EMEA, said: “Bringing inventory levels under control has proven to be very challenging, but there has been clear progress and this should facilitate new shipments in the coming quarter.”
When dicing the numbers, the Western European area saw a decline of 18.4 percent, but the Middle East dropped by 28.4 percent, while Eastern European shipments fell by 31.3 percent.
The top vendors in the period were HP, Lenovo, Dell, Acer, and Asus. But of these vendors, Acer saw a drop of 38 percent compared to the same quarter in 2014, while Asus didn’t do very much better, with a decline of 26 percent.
Giant Japanese corporation Sony is continuing its strategy of spinning off elements of its product portfolios into separate companies and now it’s the turn of its semiconductor division.
Sony Semiconductors will start operating in April next year, and two other divisons related to storage and to energy will become separate businesses too.
President Kazuo Hirai is being aggressive in slimming down and rationalising the giant. Last year it got rid of its Sony Vaio PC division.
And it’s also spun off its Walkman business,and already operates its music and movie businesses as well as its video business as separate units.
The device business accounts for around 10 percent of Sony’s overall business, and is profitable because of the success of smartphones.
It’s been bleak times for notebook vendors over the last couple of years.
But, if a report in Taiwanese wire Digitimes is correct, things are, at last, picking up.
The report said the brand vendors have placed more orders than for quite a while, and there are expected to be strong shipment this month and next.
Apparently, people have stopped being shy about Windows 10 and have started buying notebooks.
But there is still a problem with Windows 10 and its free upgrades, because some systems will run the new Microsoft OS with pretty little trouble.
The jury is still out on whether people will put their hands in their pockets to shell out for still rather expensive Windows 10 systems.
But it’s clear that the much cheaper Chromebooks is leading traditional notebook PC vendors to pushing the alternative to Windows 10 as hard as they can.
The CEO and founder of Dell said that he sees consolidation in the PC market in the next couple of years.
Dell is third in the global PC market with 14.5 percent market share, with HP at number one and Chinese firm Lenovo at number two.
Talking to journalists in Bengaluru, India, Michael Dell told Reuters that the three top firms will have around 80 percent of the market in the next five years.
Despite the fact that the PC market is shrinking, Dell is doing pretty well, Dell said because the company now just doesn’t focus on selling PCs but also software and security for enterprise customers.
Dell told the journalists that his firm has outgrown the other two chief rivals in terms of notebook sale and has grown its share 10 quarters in a row.
Last week the founder of Taiwanese PC maker Acer said that any takeover of his firm would face a hostile reaction from the company. Acer barely scraped a profit in its last set of financial results.
Dell, now a private company, has no intention of releasing any kind of smartphone, he said.
Many analysts are predicting that 2-in-1 devices – that is to day PCs with detachable screens – are showing strong signs of growth.
And now IDC said that figures it has obtained will show that by the end of this year Germany will be the biggest 2-in-1 market in Western Europe. Its projections estimate that nearly 800,000 devices will ship to Germany by the end of this year.
IDC said volumes of 2-in-1s in the country have grown by 30 percent compared to last year, but demand for these devices has exceeded predictions.
And it’s not only ordinary people that are buying these devices but enterprises too, according to IDC. Chrystelle Labesque, a research manager at IDC Europe said: “2-in-1s are the only [PC] product category with a positive outlook over the next four years. This is due to an acceleration of the mobility trend, driven by increasing digitalisation of business processes in German companies and by the release of Windows 10.”
Windows 10, she said, has the potential to solve integration problems with existing IT infrastructures.
Unlike other territories, IDC said that Samsung beats Apple in the smartphone and tablet market with a third of total shipments.
Sales of PCs continue to decline but this time it’s in the Middle East and Africa region, with shipments falling by 25.6 percent in the second quarter of this year.
IDC said that sales of desktops fell 21.2 percent but notebooks fared worse and fell by 28.6 percent to 1.9 million units.
Some of the region is troubled by conflict but that isn’t the reason for the decline. According to IDC, there was too much existing stock swilling around in the channel, exacerbated by a slowdown in demand and currency fluctuations.
Fouad Charakla, analyst research manager for the region, said that in the UAE, a slowdown in tourist spending from Russia and from Europe inhibited demand for PCs.
HP is the leader in the region but its shipments fell 26 percent in the second quarter. Lenovo, in second place, saw its shipments fall by 19 percent with Dell declining by 10.3 percent and Acer showed a decline of 29.3 percent and Asus falling by 26.7 percent.
Charakla said 2015 will be see region’s worst ever performance with low oil prices also affecting spends. Meanwhile, sales of tablets and smartphones are cannibalising demand for PCs.
The add in board (AIB) graphics market showed a decline of 18.77 percent in the second quarter of this year compared to Q2 of 2014.
Jon Peddie Research, a consulting firm for graphics and multimedia, said that’s much greater than the fall in the desktop PC market – down 14.77 percent in the quarter.
But there’s good growth in the PC gaming sector, and tablets and embedded graphics helped that “bright spot”, the analyst firm reported.
The company said that the attach rate of AIBs to desktop PCs fell from its high of 63 percent in the first quarter of 2008 to 37 percent in the second quarter of this year.
All in all, AIB shipments amounted to 9.4 million units, with both AMD and Nvidia showing falls of 33.3 percent and 12 percent respectively, quarter to quarter.
Nvidia now has 81.9 percent of the market. There are only four graphic chip manufacturers in the segment, as the table below shows.
Chinese manufacturer Lenovo said it is ready to immediately ship a number of products pre-loaded with Microsoft Windows 10.
It also said it is ready to upgrade Lenovo Windows 7 SP1 and 8.1 devices to Windows 10.
It claims it’s shipping product with its own aps including the Companion 3.0 optimisation tool, Lenovo settings that senses attached devices, and Lenovo ReachIt and Cortana natural language and contextual search tool later on this year.
Lenovo said it will roll out desktops, laptops and tablets that use Windows 10.
The company said that the optimisation tool keeps machines running at their best performance.
Lenovo did not detail all of the devices its shipping in two days time. I expect we’ll have to wait for two days to find out what they are.
More bad news for the PC market comes from a report which said that shipments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) fell 21.6 percent in the second quarter of this year.
IDC said the industry in EMEA is suffering from unfavourable exchange rates which means prices of PCs are higher and demand is weaker.
The dismal figures are somewhat skewed by the fact that PC sales were very strong in the first half of 2014, when XP replacements became necessary.
The industry is also waiting for the launch of Windows 10, which also led to manufacturers reducing stock in the channel.
Western Europe saw a steep decline of 19.3 percent during the quarter, while the rest of the region dropped by 24.3 percent and 25.7 percent respectively.
The declines applied to both commercial buyers of PCs and home buyers. The introduction of the Microsoft Bing promotion has also hit profits.
In the quarter, PC shipments in Western Europe totalled 10.7 million units. Southern European countries did better than other Western European countries.
HP was number one in EMEA with a market share of 22.8 percent, followed by Lenovo (19.6 percent) and Dell (11.7 percent).
IDC thinks that the introduction of Windows 10 won’t bring much relief to the market, because the upgrade is free for a year to home buyers who have Windows 7 and Windows 8.x – while enterprises are inclined to be cautious in their buying patterns for a brand new operating system.