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PC Market Stabilizes with Solid Fourth Quarter Shipments Despite Component Shortages, According to IDC

11 Jan 2017

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., January 11, 2017  – Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs (Desktop, Notebook, and Workstation) totaled 70.2 million units in the fourth quarter of 2016 (4Q16), posting a year-on-year decline of 1.5%, according to the International Data Corporation (IDCWorldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. The results continued the recent trend of stabilizing growth, which has been in decline since 2012.

Annually, shipments of traditional PCs slipped to 260 million units, down 5.7% from 2015. The first quarter of 2016 was still constrained by high inventory, free Windows 10 upgrades, and difficult comparisons to commercial replacements in 2014 that were fueled by the end of support for Windows XP. However, mid-2016 and particularly the recent fourth quarter have moved beyond these inhibitors and seen stabilizing commercial demand. Contraction of the consumer PC market has also slowed as growth and competition from tablets and phones has eased up. Recent quarters have faced some tight supply of components such as SSDs, displays, and memory. The supply constraints did not significantly slow overall shipments, and in fact may have boosted growth slightly and accelerated market consolidation as the largest players moved to lock up supply.

Mature regions continued to perform best. Japan and Canada extended positive growth from 3Q16, while volume in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region was stable. Shipments in the United States declined slightly, although the country performed slightly better than the global average. Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan)(APeJ) continued to improve with only a mild decline in shipments while Latin America continued to experience significant contraction.

“The fourth quarter results reinforce our expectations for market stabilization, and even some recovery,” said Loren Loverde, vice president, Personal Computing Trackers & Forecasting. “The contraction in traditional PC shipments experienced over the past five years finally appears to be giving way as users move to update systems. We have a good opportunity for traditional PC growth in commercial markets, while the consumer segment should also improve as it feels less pressure from slowing phone and tablet markets.”

“The U.S. PC market was able to pull off a strong last quarter of the year with impressive growth in the retail PC segment that surpassed expectations,” said Neha Mahajan, senior research analyst, Devices & Displays. “Although this might signal regained consumer confidence in the PC market, with most of the sales being driven by aggressive promotions in the holiday season, it needs to be seen how much of the real demand is carried forward in the coming quarters.”

Regional Highlights


United States  market witnessed a slight decline in shipments this quarter. Following inventory growth in the third quarter, the fourth quarter saw growth toning down. At the same time, the retail PC market in the U.S. came out strong, backed by aggressive promotions by top PC vendors in December. Overall, traditional PC shipments for 4Q16 stood at 17.0 million units.


EMEA  market performed better than expected, fueled by strong holiday season sales of traditional PCs. While desktops performed in line with IDC’s expectations, notebooks grew above forecast across the region. However, component shortages are expected to have driven some of the vendors’ shipment towards inventory build-up.


 Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan)  traditional PC market continued to stabilize with only a slight year-on-year contraction. The demonetization crisis in India had a significant impact on the market, stifling demand and inhibiting shipments in the consumer and SMB segments, but recovery towards the end of the quarter allowed for more sell-in. In China, robust demand for consumer notebooks supported by a shift to thin and light devices continued. The commercial market in most APeJ countries remained soft. Projects in India have been delayed, while China saw weaker than expected commercial demand. A negative macroeconomic environment also inhibited shipments, particularly in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines. On the other hand, larger orders from the public sector pushed the commercial market above expectations in Korea.


Japan  traditional PC market came in ahead of forecast, but still slowed from the third quarter, as expected. Consumer shipments remained under pressure while the commercial segment was resilient, driving overall growth in 4Q16.

Vendor Highlights

Lenovo  continued to hold the top spot, though the competition with HP remains fierce. The top vendor still faced a tough climate in APeJ but made significant strides in the holiday quarter in Europe and the Americas with a stronger performance in notebooks and capped the quarter growing globally at 1.7%, ending six consecutive quarters of year-on-year declines.

HP Inc.  held the second position, growing 6.6% compared to 4Q15 for its third consecutive quarter of positive growth and shipping more than 15 million units for the first time since 4Q14. HP Inc. further consolidated its share in the United States market, growing its market share to 31%. The company also saw sizable gains in EMEA and APeJ.

Dell Technologies  also had a productive quarter with shipments of just over 11 million (the first time it has done so since 4Q11) and growth of 8.2%. The number 3 vendor managed positive year-on-year growth in every region with strong notebook volume as well as a positive desktop quarter.

Apple  was boosted by the launch of new MacBook Pro models during the fourth quarter. The company moved back into fourth place and stabilized global shipments.

ASUS  growth slipped in the fourth quarter, particularly in the U.S., but remained in the top 5 globally, ranking number four for all of 2016.



Top 5 Vendors, Worldwide Traditional PC Shipments, Fourth Quarter 2016  (Preliminary results) (Shipments are in thousands of units)


Q416 Shipments

Q416 Market Share

Q415 Shipments

Q415 Market Share

Q416/Q415 Growth

1. Lenovo 15,693 22.4% 15,434 21.6% 1.7%
2. HP Inc 15,268 21.7% 14,325 20.1% 6.6%
3. Dell Technologies 11,000 15.7% 10,169 14.3% 8.2%
4. Apple 5,263 7.5% 5,311 7.4% -0.9%
5. ASUS 5,167 7.4% 5,827 8.2% -11.3%
Others 17,812 25.4% 20,228 28.4% -11.9%







Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, January 11, 2017



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Top 5 Vendors, Worldwide Traditional PC Shipments, Calendar Year 2016  (Preliminary results) (Shipments are in thousands of units)


2016 Shipments

2016 Market Share

2015 Shipments

2015 Market Share

2016/2015 Growth

1. Lenovo 55,502 21.3% 57,233 20.8% -3.0%
2. HP Inc 54,290 20.9% 53,587 19.4% 1.3%
3. Dell Technologies 40,731 15.7% 39,049 14.2% 4.3%
4. ASUS 19,203 7.4% 19,360 7.0% -0.8%
5. Apple 18,446 7.1% 20,452 7.4% -9.8%
Others 72,012 27.7% 86,110 31.2% -16.4%







Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, January 11, 2017


Table Notes:

  • Some IDC estimates prior to financial earnings reports.
  • Shipments include shipments to distribution channels or end users. OEM sales are counted under the vendor/brand under which they are sold.
  • Traditional PCs include Desktops, Notebooks, and Workstations and do not include Tablets or x86 Servers. Detachable Tablets and Slate Tablets are part of the Personal Computing Device Tracker, but are not addressed in this press release.
  • Data for all vendors are reported for calendar periods.

IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker gathers detailed market data in over 90 countries. The research includes historical and forecast trend analysis among other data.

For more information, or to subscribe to the research, please contact Kathy Nagamine at 650-350-6423 or

About IDC Trackers

IDC Tracker products provide accurate and timely market size, vendor share, and forecasts for hundreds of technology markets from more than 100 countries around the globe. Using proprietary tools and research processes, IDC’s Trackers are updated on a semiannual, quarterly, and monthly basis. Tracker results are delivered to clients in user-friendly excel deliverables and on-line query tools.

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,100 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC’s analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), the world’s leading media, data and marketing services company. To learn more about IDC, please visit Follow IDC on Twitter at @IDC.


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