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For the whole of 2016, worldwide PC shipments totaled 269.7 million units, marking a 6.2-percent decline year on year, Gartner said in a new study on Thursday.
Annual sales had decreased since 2012, the company noted, adding that its preliminary full-year data included desk-based PCs, notebook PCs and ultra-mobile premiums such as Microsoft Surface, but not Chromebooks or iPads.
Although PC sales declined at a slower rate in the final quarter of 2016, there was no trend reversal in sight.
“Big sales events such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and holiday sales are no longer effective marketing opportunities for PCs since such purchases are generally driven by ‘need’ rather than ‘want’ motivation,” principal analyst at Gartner, Mikako Kitagawa, said in a statement.
Changing market environment
“PCs are not a preferred gift item any longer as consumers gravitate toward other consumer electronics, such as virtual personal assistant speakers, VR head-mounted devices and wearables,” Kitagawa added.
The study noted that the broad PC market had been static as technology improvements had not been sufficient to drive real market growth.
New innovative form factors like 2-in-1s plus lighter and thinner notebooks as well as longer battery life were not able to reverse the trend of declining annual sales.
“There’s also the other side of the PC market where PCs are infrequently used – consumers in this segment have high dependency on smartphones, so they stretch PC life cycles longer,” Katigawa said.
Despite declining sales overall, Lenovo, HP and Dell logged a slight increase in shipments globally in the final quarter of last year.