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PC Shipments Fall for 6th Consecutive Quarter: Gartner & IDC

The nightmare does not seem to end for the PC manufacturers. The recently released worldwide PC shipments data for first-quarter 2016 by two independent research firms — Gartner Inc. IT and International Data Corporation (“IDC”) — showed that PC shipments decreased year over year in the quarter, marking the sixth consecutive quarter of decline.

According to the preliminary data released by Gartner, PC shipments in the quarter fell 9.6% year over year to 64.8 million units, the lowest level since 2007. The research firm stated that PC manufacturers including Lenovo, HP Inc. HPQ and Dell registered year-over-year decline in PC sales, while Asustek and Apple Inc. AAPL witnessed growth.

Per the research firm, Lenovo retained the leading position with 19.3% market share followed by HP, Dell, Asus and Apple with 17.6%, 14.1%, 8.3% and 7.1%, respectively.

On the other hand, the IDC report stated that PC shipments have dropped 11.5% from the year-ago period to approximately 60.6 million units. According to the research firm, Lenovo, HP, Dell, Apple and Asus held the top five positions with respective market shares of 20.1%, 19.2%, 14.9%, 7.4% and 7.2%.

Furthermore, there was not much change in the top positions globally, though a major change took place in the U.S. as Dell dethroned HP. According to Gartner, Dell became the top seller in the country mainly driven by intense focus on the business segment rather on consumer market. IDC also agreed on the ranking, though the units and percentage of market share differed.

The difference in results is mainly due to different techniques being used for tracking PC sales as well as the inclusion and/or exclusion of certain products. For example, IDC includes Chromebooks which run on Alphabet Inc.’s GOOGL Chrome operating system, while Gartner does not. Similarly, Gartner takes into account Microsoft Corp. MSFT tablets and "detachables" such as the iPad Pro and the Asus Transformer while IDC does not.

Nonetheless, both the firms have similar reasons – the appreciating U.S. dollar, consumer segment’s lack of interest in new PCs as they are opting for inexpensive mobile devices, and delay in fully deploying Windows 10 operating systems by enterprises.

Apart from this, Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, highlighted that “problematic economy and political instability” in Brazil adversely affected the Latin American PC market. He further added, “Low oil prices drove economic contraction in Latin America and Russia, changing them from drivers of growth to market laggards."

However, both IDC and Gartner expect slight recovery in PC shipments in 2016, primarily the second half. The firms believe that the industry may witness a faster commercial transition of Windows 10 toward the end of this year.

Conclusion

In the emerging markets, consumers are opting for relatively inexpensive mobile computing devices, such as smartphones. The increase in functionality and larger screen sizes (5 inches and above) are also boosting the demand for such devices. Additionally, the ongoing change in the way people communicate has led to the proliferation of mobile devices.

Therefore, we consider that the strong dollar and delay in transition to Windows 10 are the temporary factors. PC manufacturers have to deal with a major concern — cost of device — to ensure long-term growth.

From a long-term perspective, PCs have to compete with mobile computing devices as returning to growth remains a distant possibility. The decline will hurt the business prospects of companies like HP, Intel Corporation INTC Seagate Technologies STX and Western Digital WDC that still depend substantially on PC sales.

Currently, Alphabet carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), while Apple, HP, Microsoft, Intel, Seagate and Western Digital have a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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