Apple’s miserable Mac sales aren’t helping the big PC slump

At the beginning of this year, we witnessed the largest ever year-on-year decline to hit the PC market according to IDC, and the latest figures from analyst firm Gartner point to the most sustained slump ever seen in the industry – with Apple’s Mac sales falling hard and definitely not helping the big picture.

Yes, it’s more PC doom and gloom, and Gartner’s figures for Q3 2016 show that the number of global PC shipments came to 68.9 million units, a decline of 5.7% compared to the same quarter last year.

And this marks the eighth consecutive quarter that said numbers have dwindled, meaning that’s two full years of hurt, and the longest duration of a slump ever witnessed in the PC market.

As to the reasons for the decline, Gartner treads the usual territory, highlighting the fact that PCs have far more longevity these days in terms of their components remaining relevant, meaning folks are buying new computers on a far less frequent basis.

Apparently there’s also weak demand for PCs in emerging markets, with consumers being just fine sticking with a smartphone or phablet for their computing needs – and also back-to-school sales haven’t been faring as well as they should in the US.

Some progress

Not every PC vendor lost ground, though, and in fact both HP Inc and Dell gained on leader Lenovo.

Lenovo stayed on top but its PC shipments dropped to 14.4 million units, shrinking by 2.4% compared to the third quarter of 2015, giving the manufacturer a market share of 20.9%. This is the sixth consecutive quarter during which the company has experienced a decline in sales.

HP Inc, in second place, showed 2.3% growth year-on-year to stomp on up to a market share of 20.4% – just half a percentage point behind Lenovo now (the gap was 1.4% this time last year). Apparently strong sales in the business market helped the manufacturer make progress.

Dell also showed 2.6% growth, holding third place with a market share of 14.7%.

Mac slacking 

So Lenovo aside, where did the rest of those losses come from? As mentioned, a slump in the sales of Macs was a big factor, with Apple actually falling just below 5 million units with a big drop of 13.4% compared to last year – giving the company a 7.2% market share. That allowed Asus, with growth of 2.4% to 5.4 million units, to overtake the company and take fourth place in the top ranked PC vendors with a 7.8% share.

In sixth position, Acer also shed considerable sales, dropping to 4.6 million units shifted, a decline of 14.1% year-on-year.

As for the UK market, apparently there was no real impact made by the Brexit decision, and Isabelle Durand, principal research analyst at Gartner, noted that: “UK buyers increased their orders for PCs this quarter in anticipation of the holiday season, and to get ahead of price rises expected due to a weak sterling.”

However, overall European sales dropped to 19.2 million units for the quarter, which represented a decline of 3.3% compared to Q3 last year.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).