Strong Dollar, Not Windows 10, Blamed As PC Sales Fall

Windows 10 upgrades rather than new sales hit PC shipments, as semiconductor industry also sees a slight decline

PC shipments have continued to fall across the world despite the recent launch of Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system.

Overall, worldwide PC shipments totalled 73.7 million units in the third quarter of 2015, a 7.7 percent decline from the third quarter of 2014, according to the latest figures from Gartner.

It blamed the decline on a combination of the strong US dollar coupled with the fact that (for now at least) Windows 10 is gaining more traction from users upgrading existing Windows machines rather than buying new PCs.

Soft Recovery

Lenovo YOGA 3 11in LaptopLenovo remains the world’s leading PC seller, as its market share increased to 20.3 percent, followed by HP (18.5 percent) and Dell (13.5 percent), with Apple (7.6 percent) just taking fourth spot ahead of Acer (7.4 percent), and Asus (7.1 percent).

Desktop PCs continued to see weak shipments with a “high-single-digit decline.”. And the researcher pointed out that the segment that combines notebook PCs and premium ultramobiles (MacBook Air,Microsoft Surface Pro) also recorded a low-single-digit decline.

“The global PC market has experienced price increases of around 10 percent throughout the year, due to the sharp appreciation of the US dollar against local currencies,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.

“In the third quarter of 2015, this continued to be a major cause for weaker demand in those regions,” said Kitagawa. “These impacted regions, which include EMEA, Japan and Latin America, posted double-digit declines in the third quarter. Asia/Pacific and the US were more stable.”

However Gartner added that it not all doom and gloom for the PC industry, as its 2015 personal technology survey revealed that 50 percent of consumers expressed intention to purchase a PC in the next 12 months, compared with 21 percent for tablet purchase intention.

“This change in consumer preferences toward PCs was visible in the preliminary data, as we saw positive growth in US notebook and premium ultramobile shipments,” said Kitagawa. “Soft recovery is expected to start in 4Q15, as Windows 10 product refreshes start to appear.”

Windows 10

Windows 10 NetflixIn July, Gartner reported that sales of PCs had fallen yet again as the market struggled to rejuvenate itself. Windows 10 was officially launched on 29 July, yet it has had a minimal impact on shipments in this latest quarter.


Gartner said that the focus of the Windows launch in the quarter was to upgrade to Windows 10 on existing PCs, rather than ship on new PCs. But it predicts that the Christmas season will change this, as the “Windows 10 rollout will ramp up in 4Q15 holiday sales.”

Indeed, Windows 10 appears to have enjoyed a healthy start to its life in the PC world, having already overhauled some major competitors to become the fourth most-used operating system in the world. Last month NetMarketShare revealed that Windows 10 has 5.21 percent of the total desktop PC market share, meaning it is already ahead of Windows 8 (2.56 percent) and Mac OS X 10.10 (4.76 percent).


Chips With That?

There was also a corresponding decline in semiconductor shipments in the third quarter, due to weaknesses in the smartphone and PC segments.

Worldwide semiconductor revenue is forecast to total $337.8 billion in 2015, a decline of 0.8 percent from 2014, Gartner said. This is first decline in revenue since 2012 when the market declined 2.6 percent.

“Once again the outlook for the major applications that drive the semiconductor market, including PCs, smartphones and tablets, has been revised downward,” said Andrew Norwood, research VP at Gartner. “This, combined with the continuing impact of the strong dollar on demand in key markets outside of the US, has resulted in a decline in our forecast and a negative growth rate for 2015.”

“Not only did the year start badly, but we are not seeing the typical ramp up in sales of semiconductors in many areas of the market in anticipation of the holiday season,” said Norwood. “As a result, sales are not going to recover enough in the second half to halt an annual decline in semiconductor revenue for 2015.”

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