For an update of these stats please click here. It’s been a long time since PCs were the driving force of our industry. Nevertheless they remain second only to smart phones in terms of revenues and a major ecosystem for application developers and services companies alike. In 2015 the market for PCs was worth $160B – down 3.8%; unit shipments slipped by 1.9% to 235M, while the installed base was stable at 945M. It’s a more democratic market than many, with the top four vendors having similar market shares (see Figure). You’ll want to learn more about developments.
The PC market is mature – most of the effort to ship new products is to replace older ones. In fact the installed base of PCs was stable in 2015 as mentioned above. Laptops are in the majority, accounting for 593M PC installations (see Figure). Desktop PCs are also important with 305M installed. Workstations are important due to their advanced features and higher prices – there were 20M of these installed and in use at the end of the year. The smallest category of product are thin clients with 12M installed.
Desktop PC revenues have remained relatively stable over the last decade or so at around $14B per quarter (see Figure); the fall off in the last few years has been less dramatic than many believe. Revenues from laptops have been more up and down, with a big rise from 2003 to 2008 followed by the Credit Crunch downturn and a rise to the end of 2011. Since then the market has been in decline. Workstation/Other PCs are a much smaller market, accounting for around $3B revenues per quarter.
Revenues in 2015 from PCs were split 39:32:29 from the Americas, Asia Pacific and EMEA respectively. The Americas have been particularly important in recent quarters, due in part to the increasing value of the $US against other currencies and an expansion of business into Brazil and other parts of Latin America. The PC business in Asia Pacific has shown a distinct fall since its peak in 2011. The PC business in EMEA has fallen below the level in Asia Pacific. There are no European PC manufacturers currently.
The PC market will decline again in 2016, although it will continue to evolve. I’m going to be watching HP Inc., Microsoft, Dell and Lenovo closely and plotting developments.