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PC shipments show nearly 8 per cent decline in last quarter

In Windows 10's launch quarter, PC shipments declined by a considerable margin compared to the same period a year prior. Year-over-year, shipments are down by 7.7 per cent according to Gartner or 10.8 per cent based on IDC's findings.

It would be easy to blame Windows 10 for the PC market's decline, however it is actually weak demand for new hardware which is hampering sales.

IDC expects the effects of Windows 10's availability to be felt in the long-run. Gartner reveals, based on its 2015 personal technology survey, that 50 per cent of consumers intend to get a new PC in the next year.

One of the biggest - if not the biggest - Windows 10 selling points is the free upgrade promotion which Microsoft has offered to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users. Until it ends, on 29 July, 2016, users will see little need for new hardware, if what they currently use can handle the new operating system. Windows 10 has been installed (opens in new tab) on more than 110 million devices so far.

Going back to PC shipments, it is Lenovo which leads the market, followed by HP, Dell, Apple and Acer. PC shipments during the third quarter of 2015 are estimated to be above the 70 million units mark, down from just over 79.5 million units in Q3 2014.

These numbers are not final, so you can expect to see some slight changes after manufacturers publish their earnings reports. As such, it would make little sense to discuss the numbers posted by IDC and Gartner, given that there are not-so-negligible variations between them: if you look at Apple, it's said to have gained market share in the quarter according to Gartner, while IDC claims the opposite.

Now here are the good news.

"This change in consumer preferences toward PCs was visible in the preliminary data, as we saw positive growth in U.S notebook and premium ultramobile shipments", says Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa. "Soft recovery is expected to start in 4Q15, as Windows 10 product refreshes start to appear. In the meantime, PC manufacturers should adjust configurations for 2016 without the impact of price hikes seen in 2015, which will lead into more stable market conditions in the upcoming year".

Garnet PC shipments Q3 2015

IDC PC shipments Q3 2015

"The PC market continues to contract as expected, but we remain optimistic about future shipments", says IDC Worldwide PC Tracker research manager Jay Chou.

"While PC shipments will be hampered in the short run by the availability of a free upgrade to Windows 10, the improved PC experience across user segments should drive longer-term demand for new PC hardware that is expected help stabilise the market in 2016 and beyond".

Photo credit: Rob Hyrons (opens in new tab)/Shutterstock (opens in new tab)