Personal computer sales fall for fifth year in a row

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This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on January 13, 2017.

 

SAN FRANCISCO: Sales of desk and laptop computers declined last year, extending a slide started in 2012, according to figures released on Wednesday by two market trackers.

Preliminary figures from Gartner indicated that personal computer (PC) shipments last year tallied 269.7 million units in a 6.2% decline from the previous year.

Internation Data Corp pegged the number of machines shipped last year at 260 million, calculating a 5.7% drop from the previous year.

“Stagnation in the [personal computer] market continued into the fourth quarter of 2016 as holiday sales were generally weak due to the fundamental change in PC-buying behaviour,” Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa said in a release.

“The broad PC market has been static as technology improvements have not been sufficient to drive real market growth.”

While there has been growth in sales of innovative new machines such as hybrid laptops with removable “tablet” screens, the demand was not enough to offset a drop in sales of traditional models, Gartner found.

Another factor was that people are putting off replacing desk or laptop computers because they use them infrequently, opting instead to go online with smartphones, according to Kitagawa.

China-based Lenovo Group Ltd remained the leader in the global PC market, followed by US firms Hewlett-Packard Co and Dell Inc. All three increased their share of the market in the final quarter of last year, according to both industry trackers. — AFP