- Oracle PR/Flickr
It’s official: The PC industry has been shrinking for five straight years, according to data from the analyst firm IDC.
In 2016, 260 million “traditional” PCs (leaving out hybrid tablets like the iPad Pro or Surface Pro), were shipped, down 5.7% from 2015, by IDC’s reckoning.
While the fourth quarter of 2016 showed signs of “stabilizing,” down a lesser 1.5% from the same period in 2015, it’s still been a half-decade of contraction for the industry.
That shrinkage can be attributed to a few key factors: First and foremost, the rise of the smartphone and tablet took the spotlight off the boring ol’ PC. Second, laptops and desktops haven’t really changed much, and without any compelling new innovations to spur purchases, people are keeping their computers longer.
In a weird way, though, the consolidation brought on by this market contraction has been good for companies like HP and Dell, the second- and third-largest PC manufacturers by market share, respectively, behind the leading Lenovo. HP grew its PC shipments by 1.3% from 2015 to 2016, IDC says, while Dell grew its shipments by 4.3%. Lenovo saw its shipments dip 3% over the same period.
Apple had the single biggest drop in 2016, with its number of PC shipments falling 9.8% from 2015 to 2016, with the fourth quarter’s release of the new MacBook Pro saving it from losing even more ground to the Microsoft Windows-centric manufacturers.
Notably, IDC expects things to look up for the PC market starting in 2017. Businesses are going to start upgrading their PCs this year, IDC says. Meanwhile, the smartphone boom started grinding to a halt in 2016, as innovation in that market started stalling out – which could mean more people buying more PCs, as they keep their phones longer.
Here’s IDC’s chart of PC market share at the end of 2016: