Global PC shipments slide for fifth straight year

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Global PC shipments slid for the fifth consecutive year according to the latest report from market research firm Gartner.

Preliminary results indicate that worldwide PC shipments totaled 72.6 million units in the fourth quarter of 2016, a 3.7 percent decline compared to the year-ago quarter. For the calendar year, the firm says 269.7 million units shipped which represents a 6.2 percent decline versus 2015.

Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, said stagnation in the PC market continued into the fourth quarter as holiday sales were generally weak due to fundamental changes in PC buying behavior. Innovative form factors like 2-in-1s as well as technology improvements such as better battery life have led to fast growth courtesy of engaged PC users, Kitagawa said, but PC enthusiasts alone aren’t enough to drive overall market growth.

IDC, meanwhile, reports shipments of 70.2 million units in Q4 2016, a decline of just 1.5 percent. Annual shipments checked in at 260 million units, IDC says, which is down 5.7 percent compared to their year-ago figures.

IDC pins much of the blame on the first quarter of 2016, a period the firm says was constrained by high inventory, free Windows 10 upgrades and difficult comparisons to commercial replacements in 2014 that were fueled by Microsoft ending support for Windows XP.

Regardless of which firm you believe to be more accurate, the general consensus is that shipments were indeed down in 2016. Again.

Lead image courtesy The Level

Permalink to story.

 

Bigtruckseries

TS Evangelist
PC's are better than ever...but pockets out there are hurtin'.

How much demand do we have for PC when we've got a dozen other devices (with payment plans) that can do the same or better?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Used Rugs
What about parts? It's easier than ever to build your own PC as you need to install like 4 parts. Of course if you want to customize you can do a lot more but if you can't be bothered just buy a case with pre-installed fans, install mobo, power, cpu(+fan), gpu and some sort of hdd/ssd and your ready to go.

Also there haven't been real development other than graphics cards so there's no real need to upgrade the whole computer when you can just buy a 300$ part every 3 years. Motherboard and RAM manufacturers should have a serious talk with intel if they want to sell something.

Part of me wish they would make better processors so developers could utilize them for better AI and stuff but other part is happy that I don't need to buy new computer every five years.
 

ikesmasher

TS Evangelist
If youre web browsing and watching 720p youtube, a pc from 10 years ago can still do that, why should people upgrade? most users dont care about new hardware until their old pc is barely functional.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Underdog

Rockstarrrr

TS Booster
If youre web browsing and watching 720p youtube, a pc from 10 years ago can still do that, why should people upgrade? most users dont care about new hardware until their old pc is barely functional.
I added GTX 660 into my old Core2Duo E6600. It actually handles 4K on YouTube quite easily (as 660 is doing all the heavy lifting).

Anything from Core2Duo is still viable option for regular user, with SSD its quite fast machine really.
 

Nobina

RTX 2080 Ti and iPhone XS MAX 512GB
People don't need to buy new desktops and laptops every year like phones. Smartphones are like fashion gadgets and you wanna have the latest, desktops just sit there and do their job.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Underdog

Rippleman

TS Evangelist
My son still rocking Dell XPS 420 with a q6600 (Launch Date‎: ‎Q1'07) for his gaming machine. Me, a dell Optiplex 780 with a e8400 (Launch Date Q1'08). For us, there STILL is no reason to upgrade. Could we? yes. Would we like to? yes. Do we have to? no.Will we in the next year? yes actually but not to new machines, just older machines that do an equal job to the new stuff for real world usage. I would be happy even just to pick up a couple i7 920's. They would last us another 10 years.
 

MoeJoe

Banned
Sheep love them some mobile.
Sheep can no longer handle the perceived complexities of the PC realm.
Sheep will be absorbed.

Hence why PC sales are drowning ...
 

tuffguy

TS Rookie
It is all well and good to say PC shipments have declined 5 years in a row but you have to remember they are only talking about brand name or store bought units. Me, I would not buy a store bought if you paid me because most of them are rubbish with cheap quality parts to meet a price point. Just too many compromises. A lot of people out there build their own these days because parts are cheap, lots of options on the internet and you buy exactly what you need to your budget and will generally end up with a much better PC.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Underdog

Skidmarksdeluxe

TS Evangelist
If youre web browsing and watching 720p youtube, a pc from 10 years ago can still do that, why should people upgrade? most users dont care about new hardware until their old pc is barely functional.
720p was a thing 10 years ago? I think it was more like 800x600. I dunno, you could be right.
 
J

Jamlad

If youre web browsing and watching 720p youtube, a pc from 10 years ago can still do that, why should people upgrade? most users dont care about new hardware until their old pc is barely functional.
720p was a thing 10 years ago? I think it was more like 800x600. I dunno, you could be right.
Twas. 720p/1080p TVs were the big thing in 2006. Along with HDDVD/Blu-ray to utilize them. Xbox 360/PS3 times.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Skidmarksdeluxe

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
What about parts? It's easier than ever to build your own PC as you need to install like 4 parts. Of course if you want to customize you can do a lot more but if you can't be bothered just buy a case with pre-installed fans, install mobo, power, cpu(+fan), gpu and some sort of hdd/ssd and your ready to go.

Also there haven't been real development other than graphics cards so there's no real need to upgrade the whole computer when you can just buy a 300$ part every 3 years. Motherboard and RAM manufacturers should have a serious talk with intel if they want to sell something.

Part of me wish they would make better processors so developers could utilize them for better AI and stuff but other part is happy that I don't need to buy new computer every five years.

Good point. Even brands like Dell, that used to let the consumer customize their computer to meed their individual needs has fallen off the wagon into a basic "take it or leave it or spend a lot more money" position. Until the PC makers make it convenient for the consumer to get exactly what they want, they can expect fluctuations in the market place, and after all .... they aren't loosing money, just not making as much ... not exactly the end of the business line!
 
What about parts? It's easier than ever to build your own PC as you need to install like 4 parts. Of course if you want to customize you can do a lot more but if you can't be bothered just buy a case with pre-installed fans, install mobo, power, cpu(+fan), gpu and some sort of hdd/ssd and your ready to go.

Also there haven't been real development other than graphics cards so there's no real need to upgrade the whole computer when you can just buy a 300$ part every 3 years. Motherboard and RAM manufacturers should have a serious talk with intel if they want to sell something.

Part of me wish they would make better processors so developers could utilize them for better AI and stuff but other part is happy that I don't need to buy new computer every five years.

Good point. Even brands like Dell, that used to let the consumer customize their computer to meed their individual needs has fallen off the wagon into a basic "take it or leave it or spend a lot more money" position. Until the PC makers make it convenient for the consumer to get exactly what they want, they can expect fluctuations in the market place, and after all .... they aren't loosing money, just not making as much ... not exactly the end of the business line!
Why would the lack of customization of PCs by major manufacturers hurt their sales? Are you saying that other form factors are selling better because they DO offer customization? If laptops, tablets and smartphones are being offered with more hardware choices than PC, it's news to me.
 

Rippleman

TS Evangelist
did you even read the bloody article? im not here to justify the amount of money I spend on PC hardware every year - im here to justify why the vast majority of the market (AKA the average consumer) doesnt give a **** about hardware.

please go away and take your toxicity with you. im amazed someone can be THAT daft. lemme guess - PCMR
I see so many people like him think THEY represent their market I don't think they will ever see the bigger picture. In their minds, if THEY do, then so does everyone else. lol. You are 100% correct. The vast majority (guessing 90-95%) of people in the consumer market simply don't care about hardware.
 

Mithan

TS Enthusiast
PC's are better than ever...but pockets out there are hurtin'.

How much demand do we have for PC when we've got a dozen other devices (with payment plans) that can do the same or better?
Come on, it has more to do with the fact that there is no reason to upgrade and people are using other Technology, it has little to do with money.

I have lots of money to spend on a PC if I want too, but I still run my 2500k. Why? No point in upgrading.
Plenty of people are in the same boat. I would drop $450-500 tomorrow on the CPU alone if it made a difference, but the 7700k isn't fast enough over my OC'ed 2500k to justify the $900 its going to cost me for a full upgrade (Canadian Dollars), especially when the same price will get me a 6 core for the same price (Coffee Lake) in 2018, or maybe even a 6 core Ryzen (if Ryzen's single thread doesn't suck).

The 7 friends/relatives I build systems for? Same boat. They want to spend money, but no reason too. They have old systems ranging from 2500k's to 3770k's and a few Haswell. They all want new PC's but for what? A 10-20% improvement in gaming?

Until Sandy Bridge 4'cores came out, you were basically forced into upgrading every year or two because the performance gain was well worth it. My first PC was a 386SX20 and I think the longest I ever went between PC upgrades was 28 months, else I was upgrading every 2 years like clock work to keep up with gaming. Now I have a 2500k that is SIX YEARS OLD!. CRAZY.

The market has been stalled, probably because Single Threaded performance peaked, and we are now waiting for software to catch up to Mutli-threading, and this is finally starting to happen, but we are on the cusp, it wont really matter until 2018 and 2019.

When the software gets to the point where everything is multi-threaded, and needs more than 4cores, there will be a massive shift in PC's and they will begin selling again.

Lastly we need to keep in mind that a lot of people now purchase Tablets and $1000 smart phones and off load their stuff onto these devices, relegating a PC to a word processing device for many people, which makes it even more useless to upgrade.


When a REASON comes out to UPGRADE, people will UPGRADE.
 

BadThad

TS Maniac
If youre web browsing and watching 720p youtube, a pc from 10 years ago can still do that, why should people upgrade? most users dont care about new hardware until their old pc is barely functional.
I added GTX 660 into my old Core2Duo E6600. It actually handles 4K on YouTube quite easily (as 660 is doing all the heavy lifting).

Anything from Core2Duo is still viable option for regular user, with SSD its quite fast machine really.
Exactly! I have an old Core2Duo with an SSD and Win10 running my wife's PC. It does everything she needs, why replace it?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Underdog

noel24

TS Evangelist
Answer is easy. Dollar is strong as ever, countries outside of US are still struggling from crises (US subprime mortages, Arab Spring, including Syria conflict, and resulting flood of migrants that threatened the stable goverments of EU with flood of populistic, fascist parties and movements that know nothing of economy: Hungary, Poland, UK, Germany), while PC manufacturers, mostly Intel, offering incremental performance boost year over year (anyone remembering 2000's when every year You doubled Your PCs performance for $1K?). Anyway, servicing my friends 2010 laptop, and shopping a new one for my neighbour, I found out that in EU, between 2010 and 2017, laptops with same price tag hardly moved in performance. Unless Your PC dies, You have no reason to buy a new one. One and only upgrade worth a shot is an SSD. I'm not sure how it looks in China, but EU being a big market, I suppose those manufacturers operating in U$ currency must either lower their expectations or one of them must disappear. You cannot expect that any market will grow more than people of that market make money, right?
 

Abraka

TS Addict
The reason sales are declining and people aren't upgrading is that CPUs and GPUs don't advance that much anymore. CPU clock is frozen between 3 and 4 GHz. They are adding more cores to compensate, but it's not the same thing, since many apps don't profit from more cores.

It's time to ditch silicon, its time is over, and switch to germanium. With germanium chips CPUs could reach 10 or 20 GHz clocks and people would then be forced to upgrade, because their current computers would look like wooden toys. As long as we're still using silicon, people won't upgrade, because CPUs can't get faster. Germanium time is coming.
 

deemon

TS Guru
People don't need to buy new desktops and laptops every year like phones. Smartphones are like fashion gadgets and you wanna have the latest, desktops just sit there and do their job.
don't forget, that you can't really drop your desktop computer to pavement by accident ... or forget to bar after too much drinking... or being pickpocketed.

Also games, that used to be the most demanding thing for PC advancement, are now developed for consoles first and ported to PC afterwards, which in turn don't really struggle at all to run them... if the tide shifted to PC first and consoles later... maybe...

also the Intel kind of monopoly on the matter ... lets be quite honest here, the prices still remain quite same if not even increased over the years for the same exact (or close enough) performance in the last decade ... don't really help the matter either.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: noel24

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
720p was a thing 10 years ago? I think it was more like 800x600. I dunno, you could be right.
My eMachines T-5026 P-4 3.0Ghz, Intel 915 IGP chipset will, (surprisingly), run most 720p, but locks up with 1080p.
By 1080p, I mean @ 25 or 30 fps, certainly not 60 fps Blu-Ray.

You do run into videos from that period which are "480i" (480 X 640), the same resolution as the USA's old NTSC TV.

To complete this trip down memory lane, capture cards using IEEE 1394 "fire wire" camera connections were all the rage. Fire wire was supposed to be the next big thing, and it was, at least until USB 2.0 came along...:D

FWIW, when I bought that computer in 2005, it came with a 1024 X 768 CRT monitor.

I think 800 X 600 is the resolution in Windows, "safe mode", and also when you've installed a video card, before you install its driver.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Skidmarksdeluxe