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Gartner Says 2016 Marked Fifth Consecutive Year of Worldwide PC Shipment Decline (gartner.com)
38 points by danieldk on Jan 12, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 22 comments

It's not a surprise as a PC usability-span gets longer the rate of replacement gets lower.

That is possibly the big one I would say. I can only refer to data like in OP, but I feel (yes, baseless statement) like the PC industry has only gotten bigger in recent years. When I've seen results like this before I've tried to find reports on PC components instead (to no avail).

Could it be that casual users can do all their tasks on their phones/tablets now compared to 10 years ago, while the enthusiasts build their PC:s from scratch, thus hollowing out the OEM PC market, leaving only laptops?

"Could it be that casual users can do their all their tasks on their phones/tablets now compared to 10 years ago, while the enthusiasts build their PC:s from scratch, thus hollowing out the OEM PC market, leaving only laptops?"

I too think that's exactly the point. Average user doesn't need desktop PC anymore and buys smartphones, tablets, consoles instead, while power users and gamers usually build their rig from srcatch. Also, there's no need to upgrade PC every two years as technologies (maybe except GPUs) doesn't evolve as fast as it was used to. TL;DR it's not PC market that's shrinking, but a branded PC market.

The smartphone factor does suggest a shrinkimg PC market.

Further, now even smartphones are more powerful than average users need, so e.g. the iPhone 5s is still selling well.

I stopped buying desktops and moved 100% to laptops around 2003, the last desktop lasted from 2003 to 2013. Only the CD-ROM drive got replaced by a DVD one, because it broke down, nothing else was changed.

Even the laptops got used until they either died or in one case, got stolen.

We are way beyond the need of changing computers every three years.

I had the same history as you but I'm about to switch back to desktop. My point is people requirements change, it doesn't mean it's a trend though. Desktops always were easier to upgrade which also means in the past people had less reasons to buy new systems.

I've owned desktops for the last 25 years and never found I could easily upgrade. It's the promise but not the reality. New video card? Need a new power supply too. More ram? Need a new motherboard. New CPU? Same deal.

I'm switching back to a desktop because I rarely use the portability of a laptop.

You're not wrong that there are dependencies, but it's nowhere near as expensive as buying a whole new computer. I bought a desktop in 2011, added an SSD a few years ago, then added 16 GB of RAM (second hand, bringing me to 24GB) and replaced my graphics card with a Maxwell Titan X (also second hand) last year.

It's a very good system for running state of the art deep learning experiments on now. Cost me ~600 for the upgrades last year. You couldn't even buy a laptop with these specs. I bought a steam link and 2 controllers for ~150 last year to play co-op games with my wife, much cheaper than a console with the added benefit of my existing steam collection and Steam holiday sales!

I may have gotten lucky, because I sure as shit don't know what I'm doing picking components, but the fact that I can get lucky probably means there's a way to pick things with headroom intentionally.

Depends on the system.

For example, recently I got a 2011 PC from someone that didn't want to keep it on its new flat, and I cannot upgrade the GPU to a DX12/Vulkan one, because they all require PCI Express 3.0 and the motherboard only supports v1.0.

It is cheaper to get a whole new computer, like a NUC, than starting the cascade of updates.

For the whole year Apple declined faster than the market. 2.4% year-on-year growth isn't impressive considering that they finally refreshed their product line in that quarter.

If only they did refresh their product line. iMacs, Mac pros and Mac Minis were sadly neglected.

True, but i think we're going to just have to get used to longer refresh cycles for the Mac. To be fair to Apple if users make their machines last a few years longer, there's less drive to refresh to product as frequently. That doesn't mean Apple is abandoning the Mac, it just means they're adjusting to the market.

Looks to me like the story is that enterprise sales are up (HP, Dell) while consumer sales are down (Acer, Asus, Others). Companies that are strong in both markets are flat (Apple, Lenovo).

I stopped reading after "Gartner says...". Their predictions have a terrible track record and I am genuinely amazed by how much attention they are still getting.

http://www.zdnet.com/article/why-does-the-it-industry-contin...! https://www.engadget.com/2015/01/05/in-2011-gartner-made-thi...

While I agree about their preductions, OP was a 2016 sales estimate, not a prediction.

Predicting a 5th year of continued declines is actually not a very risky prediction. You plot the data, look at the graph, and say "duh." If the decline could be stopped, that would be much more newsworthy!

In this case, they are merely reporting what happened, not saying what will.

Up to 2014 Gartner reported on the top 5 companies by global PC shipments. For a long time, Apple was number 6 but wasn't included.

Then in 2015, Apple became number 5 rather than Acer Group. So did Acer drop off the list? No, suddenly Gartner started reporting on the top 6 manufacturers by global shipments. Interesting.

This is editorialising! (HN title currently is “Mac sales grow amid PC decline”) The actual title is "Gartner Says 2016 Marked Fifth Consecutive Year of Worldwide PC Shipment Decline"

Furthermore, given the data

    Lenovo     15,781    21.7    15,535    20.6    1.6
    HP Inc.    14,808    20.4    14,204    18.8    4.3
    Dell       10,723    14.8    10,175    13.5    5.4
    Asus        5,452     7.5     5,960     7.9   -8.5
    Apple       5,440     7.5     5,312     7.0    2.4
    Acer Group  4,999     6.9     5,228     6.9   -4.4
and given that Macs are PCs you could also title this, “Of the top six PC vendors Apple grew third strongest but remains in fifth position; Windows PCs remain dominant amid overall market decline”

> Macs are PCs

Apple doesn't agree with you.


According to that one stats site the other day, Apple lost 25 million users. -sarcasm-

Original topic - Gartner Says 2016 Marked Fifth Consecutive Year of Worldwide PC Shipment Decline. Mac sales grew a tiny bit in 2016 but that doesn't imply that they are still growing.

Not only that - Dell, HP and Lenovo sales also grew YoY in 4Q16 with Dell and HP both having higher increase in both %age and absolute terms than Apple.

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