PC sales fall at a record rate

Q4 2015 was not kind for PC sales.


Market research firm IDC is reporting PC shipments suffered a record decline in Q4 2015 as its data shows a record-breaking 10.6% drop when compared to the same period the year prior.

According to IDC’s data, PC shipments reached 71.9 million units in Q4 2015, which was a record year-on-year drop of 10.6%. Prior to this, the biggest quarterly drop was 9.8% in 2013.

IDC contributes the drop on a number of factors, including longer PC lifecycles, stiff competition from mobile devices, and broad economic trends. The firm also notes the drop can be seen as something of an outlier as the market is taking time to respond to Windows 10 and new hardware configurations. Consumers may also be contemplating a future between more traditional PCs and slim, convertible, detachable, and touch variants.

We’re sure the upcoming release of VR devices may have something to do with the decline in sales considering you’ll need a heavy-hitting rig in order to get the most out of the experience.

[Via GamesIndustry]

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  • reply
    January 13, 2016 6:47 AM

    Daniel Perez posted a new article, PC sales fall at a record rate

    • reply
      January 13, 2016 6:53 AM

      Also if a big recession is coming, the first thing businesses tend to do is stop ordering new office equipment.

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      January 13, 2016 6:54 AM

      I don't think the average consumer has any idea that virtual reality is on the horizon. If there are people holding off on purchasing new hardware, they're not numerous enough to affect overall market trends.

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      January 13, 2016 7:24 AM

      Oh well,that's the "Master Race" for you.

      In all seriousness though,like the article mentions,I'm sure that mobile devices,more so tablets than smart phones,imo,has a lot to do with it.

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        January 13, 2016 7:38 AM


        Mobile is still not as popular as desktop for buying things, but it’s definitely growing, especially as a place to browse. Mobile accounted for 60% of all online traffic on Thanksgiving, IBM said, up 14.8% on a year ago; and it took 54.4% of traffic on Black Friday, up 16.6%. On Thanksgiving, 40% of all sales were completed on mobile devices, another rise compared to last year, when one-third of sales were made on smartphones and tablets. Black Friday saw 35.3% of sales on mobile, IBM said.

    • reply
      January 13, 2016 7:29 AM

      Except most pc enthusiasts don't buy shitty computers. Cheap hardware doesn't drive this industry

    • reply
      January 13, 2016 7:32 AM

      What games other than Witcher 3 and Arkham Knight (due to being poorly optimized more than anything) really taxed PCs in 2015? I don't really think people had much reason to upgrade for anything. This year may be different since VR needs a killer rig and people will probably upgrade for that.

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        January 13, 2016 9:53 AM

        This isn't really about PC gaming though, now about general purpose home computers from PC manufacturers

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      January 13, 2016 7:32 AM

      I bought my wife a Chromebook for Christmas because there's just no reason for her, and I imagine a vast majority of people, to have a full OS like Windows anymore. Almost everything is done within a browser.

    • reply
      January 13, 2016 7:40 AM

      PC sales and shipments have been in decline for what? 15 consecutive quarters now? Bit late for making any predications as if it were at all surprising.

    • reply
      January 13, 2016 8:01 AM

      Diminishing returns on hardware capabilities. If you want a desktop, you are most likely either using it for productivity/business reasons, rendering/art/creative work, or gaming. Common tasks like web surfing and email are available on much more convenient and cheaper platforms. If you are doing productivity stuff, decent computers from 5-6 years ago still run Microsoft Office, Visual Studios, etc. like a champ. The other two categories, creative and gaming, are really the only mainstream activities these days that I think might make use of the most advanced hardware. However, that is a very small percentage of overall users.

      If people think these declines mean the end of the desktop, I wouldn't worry. There will always be a need for big monitors and full workstation capabilities. However, if you aren't gaming, pretty soon just plugging a Surface into a dock tied to a big monitor and wireless peripherals will suffice. It's basically just a modern, smaller form factor PC at that point.

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        January 13, 2016 8:08 AM

        Do they have docking stations for tablets other than Surface?

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          January 13, 2016 8:44 AM

          My Asus Transformer has a docking station.

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            January 13, 2016 6:52 PM

            By docking station do you mean the keyboard you can slip it into?

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              January 13, 2016 8:42 PM

              Yeah, "docking station" in the very slightest sense.

              • reply
                January 14, 2016 3:54 PM

                I kinda poo pooed my Transformer when it was first given to me, but it's kinda grown on me.

        • reply
          January 13, 2016 10:49 AM

          The new dells will

      • reply
        January 13, 2016 6:51 PM

        My CPU is from 2007 and runs every game that I've tried. Its getting close to time for an upgrade, but it still runs fine.

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          January 14, 2016 12:15 AM

          Yeah, my current build is from when Skyrim came out. Only thing I've upgraded is the video card (560 to 770). But the old i7-2700k is still powering through things with pretty much no problems.

    • reply
      January 13, 2016 8:05 AM

      What is considered a PC these days? Do they count tablets and laptops powered by windows?

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        January 13, 2016 8:09 AM

        tablets do not count, laptops do

      • reply
        January 13, 2016 6:54 PM

        I'd count tablets and smartphones. Not much difference at this point. Modern phones are capable enough to run a full fledged OS if you wanted them too, and are way more powerful than the desktops some of us had access too as children.

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          January 13, 2016 6:57 PM

          they're completely different for the platform owners, developers, and future trends, even if they do roughly account for the same category of 'computer'

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            January 14, 2016 1:04 PM

            I can't think of a PC more personal than a smartphone. The real difference is only in availability in specific software. In some cases that's because of performance restrictions, in other's there is none. Communication, entertainment, collaboration, and content creation can all be done on a modern smartphone. A desktop can certainly do each of those better though, and these are really the only things that separate a PC from a computer. Phone, tablet, and PC are just specific types types of computers.

            You can buy a Windows 10 device that is no bigger than the largest tablets, and is the same form factor. What makes that a personal computer, and an iPad not? Is it just the software?

    • reply
      January 13, 2016 8:50 AM

      Three things happening here.

      One: Enthusiasts have by and large abandoned manufacturers for self builds, and builds via "their tech friend". It's cost saving, and often times, you get better gear for your money.

      Two: non-enthusiasts have no need to upgrade, due to relatively few changes in hardware capabilities.
      Grandma's 4 year old pc works just as well for checking her email and reading foxnews.com as it ever has. No upgrade needed.

      Three: No major windows upgrade forcing new sales. I know, I know "but windows10!"
      Well, windows 10 being offered as a free update nixed a lot of new hardware sales. The aforementioned grandma just had her grandson reserve and update her existing pc to windows 10, rather than taking him to best buy (shudder) in order to pick out a new all-in-one from HP for her.

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      January 13, 2016 8:54 AM

      It's the end of this, that, and everything else. That other thing is the new thing and the old thing is the old thing now. It's the year of the Linux desktop and the death of pc gaming and the consoles are now universal pleasure machines. It's a paradigm shift, with vectors both synergistic and orgasmatronic. A very Murray Christmas indeed.

    • reply
      January 13, 2016 9:52 AM

      This is less about PC gaming and more about low-powered pre-built machines from Dell, HP etc that people typically bought for basic email, browsing and word processing.

      Those functions are generally being carried out by the general populace on phones and tablets now.

      As far as I am aware, PC gaming and the PC hardware market has been seeing gains in the face of this.

    • reply
      January 13, 2016 9:59 AM

      I stream my PC games to a TV or to a laptop. I rarely sit in front of the actual machine anymore.

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      January 13, 2016 10:12 AM

      Why does no one seem to notice that sales of seperate PC parts are up? This list also doesn't include vendors which don't offer ready-made builds, but only customizable rigs.

      I would bet you anything that 'mid to high end enthusiast' hardware has seen significant growth.

    • reply
      January 13, 2016 1:12 PM

      Why upgrade? A high end computer from 2009 would only have needed a graphic card update or 2 until now, maybe a ssd drive and bit more ram to keep up with games.

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        January 13, 2016 5:59 PM

        You are absolutely correct. Also most PC sales are for administration roles not destined for gaming.
        PCs for admin need no more processing power or ram than the average PC from 5 or so years ago which takes the average business/home PCs upgrade cycle out to over 5 years when it has been under 5 years until the advent of quad core processors. I will expect PC sales to drop again for the next few years as the current next generations of processors only have minor updates.
        The PC I am using is a few years old and the hardware I was using in 2009 is still compatible with the latest video card with only a small loss in performance PCIE2-3.

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      January 13, 2016 6:26 PM

      I guess their is no way to account for custom built/small store made PCs, which would probably make up a considerable amount. I don't know anyone who buys a generic Lenovo, Acer, or whatever.

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        January 13, 2016 6:37 PM

        Steam has > 125m users. But this report is about 72m PCs sold just in that quarter. The top vendors do 5-15m units per quarter. That dwarfs self built PCs

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          January 13, 2016 6:49 PM

          You think that less than 5m self built PCs are sold globally per quarter?

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            January 13, 2016 7:03 PM

            5m self built PCs per quarter would mean 20m per year. Since all gaming PCs aren't self built that means we'd be saying like 1/5th of Steam users buy a new PC every year and Steam would have very little hardware > 5 years old represented. So no I don't think that's true. Anecdotally you can see plenty of people in this thread mentioning how there's little reason to upgrade in the past 5+ years besides maybe a GPU upgrade. I suspect you could do an analysis of the specific trends in the Steam hardware survey per model CPU/GPU/etc over time and derive a more accurate upgrade rate.

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        January 13, 2016 8:42 PM

        I bought a Lenovo back in July. I don't have the time to build computers piece by piece, so when I'm in the market for a new rig, I look for an affordable one that has a solid processor, hard drive, and RAM, and just buy a high-end GPU separately. I usually end up saving a few hundred bucks.

        My current setup is a 3.2GHz quad core, 8GB DDR3 RAM, 1TB of storage (plus a secondary drive at 500GB from my old PC), and a GTX 970. Total cost: around $1000. Not too shabby.

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      January 13, 2016 7:16 PM

      The life cycle of a good PC is longer than it used to be. I can keep a laptop or desktop going for four years without noticeable slow down. I am also holding off on upgrading until the new GFX cards come out this year and also new Macbook Pros with Skylake CPU's.

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        January 13, 2016 8:43 PM

        Truth. I had my old PC for 6 years. It ran most games at high settings. I only bought a new one because the old one finally croaked.

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        January 13, 2016 8:46 PM

        i have an early-2012 i5 and a 2013 770 and i still find it suitable. not going to do 4k or anything but for 1200p gaming it's still plugging along.

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        January 14, 2016 4:38 AM

        Yep. Old i7 960 with 16g ddr3 and gtx 680 and I still run everything on high. Only upgrades I remember doing besides an SSD is going from a to a 280 -> 480 - > to 680. Waiting on Pascal and a new monitor before I do another overhaul.

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      January 13, 2016 11:26 PM

      I don't think VR is going to push PC sales much. I'd highly expect releases like Star Citizen and DOOM to nudge people into upgrades.

      I'm still on my 780 GTX and am waiting on Nvidia..