PC sales slow before launch of new Windows software

July 12, 2015 by Daina Beth Solomon, Los Angeles Times

Desktop, laptop and tablet sales across the globe have hit a speed bump but could pick up by the end of the year, according to technology analysts.

PC shipments declined by 9.5 percent in the second quarter of 2015 compared with the same period last year, according to research firm Gartner, which calculated that 68.4 million units had been shipped, including tablets.

According to rival industry analyst International Data Corporation, tumbled by as much as 11.8 percent this quarter compared with last year, accounting for 66.1 million units, not including tablets.

Several factors converging at once were to blame, the researchers agreed. The strong dollar led to price hikes overseas, making demand among businesses and consumers dry up.

Worldwide, sales dropped off after Windows axed support for its XP operating system in the second quarter last year. And with Windows 10 set to debut next quarter, shops wanted to keep their inventory clear of outdated technology.

In the United States, shipments of 15.1 million units in the second quarter translated to a 5.8 percent decline from the previous year, said Gartner. Desk-based computers spurred the decline, with their weakest sales since the financial crisis in 2009. Mobile PCs, however, saw steady growth over five consecutive quarters, especially thin notebooks that are more affordable than bulkier models.

Although Gartner predicted a decline of 4.4 percent for the year overall, it said sales should pick up by 2016, partly due to the Windows upgrade. But IDC pointed out that "cannibalization from competing devices," such as smartphones, could continue to dampen sales.

Lenovo grabbed the most sales worldwide with 19.7 percent of the market in the second quarter. But in the United States it dropped to third place. HP was tops in the U.S. with 26.2 percent of sales, followed by Dell at 25.2 percent.

Apple did not make the global top five list, but came in at fourth place in the U.S., claiming 12.7 percent of the market in the second quarter. According to IDC, it grew by 16.1 percent globally, managing to sidestep the competition faced by non-Mac manufacturers.

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