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PC Sales Are Down, But Not Everyone Is Hurting

PC sales are down, the market is gone and nobody will ever buy a PC again. That's certainly the message that has been repeated endlessly from some quarters as the PC market has undergone a massive contraction over the last five years.
At the same time we've also had about three years of analysts telling us that the market had bottomed out and was about to rebound. That hasn't happened however, yet there are some who are still making a decent fist of selling PCs, in terms of volume at least.
According to Gartner, Lenovo, HP and Dell were responsible for half of global PC sales. Year on year these three increased market share individually and collectively. Its a trend that goes all the way back to 2011. Compared to 2011, when the downturn began their collective sales are about the same as they were.
The overall PC market is down 19m to 65m sales, so someone must be feeling the pain though. Turns out that someone is Acer. Its sales have collapsed from an impressive 11m - and second place in the PC market  - in 2011, to not even registering as one of the top five this year. Similarly Toshiba has dropped off the radar and Sony isn't even in the PC game anymore. Between them these three account for a large chunk of the missing sales.

Will PC sales continue to fall? Probably, although we must reach a level where enterprise purchases - a less volatile market than the consumer one - will make up such a large proportion of sales that the market can't fall any more.

Will consumers continue to buy PCs? I would say so. Even though the free Windows 10 upgrade has allowed users to upgrade machines and find that they are still eminently usable, there comes an inevitable time when battery life, screen backlighting or just good old mechanical failure means the machine needs to be written off and replaced.

For OEMs though that looks like slim pickings and further rationalisation of suppliers is inevitable.


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