back to article Consumers go off PCs as global shipments continue their decline

Global shipments of PCs continue to slow as consumer demand declines, according to preliminary analysis by Gartner, with only "modest" growth visible in the business segment. Only 62.2 million units were shipped during the first three months of 2017, a 2.4 per cent drop compared to the same period of 2016. This is the first …

  1. djstardust Silver badge

    Well

    If we could get a PC at a reasonable price with more than a 1366x768 display then that would be a start.

    Oh ..... and no Windows 10 either thanks!

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Well

      Exactly.

      How many of those HP and Dell PC's have this display resolution.

      Then I look at my ancient Inspiron 8100 with its 1600x1200 screen from yonks ago.

      It can be done but they (the PC behmoths) can't be bovvered.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well

      Funny that Gartner had the PC market shrinking and IDC had the PC market growing. The difference - IDC includes Chromebooks in their numbers and Gartner does not. That's the way forward. I'm not sure why every OEM wouldn't be pushing Chrome OS as Windows is 1) declining and 2) MSFT is going to compete with them for that declining market with Surface.

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Yet again...

    ...no, people have not gone off PCs. They're just using the ones they have and don't need to replace them very often.

    It's a mature market. O that Gartner and headline writers were mature enough to understand that.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Yet again...

      Have an upvote, I would go further out to say in most countries the device market is a maturing or mature market overall. PC sales are sluggish at best, tablets sales are declining, and most phone sales are for replacement devices. Phones are the only real bright spot, sort of, because many are on a 2 - 3 year replacement cycle still while the other devices are on a 5 - 10 year cycle. Another problem for PCs and laptops is the availability of quality refurbished kit particularly if one needs one for limited duty.

      Gartner's problem is they fail to read their history. All markets follow the same pattern: the item is luxury/niche item, then it breaks into the mass market, and finally the market saturates. In the beginning the devices are sold in low volumes with high prices and margins. As it breaks in the mass market unit sales increase dramatically, prices and margins decline. At saturation, the unit sales stabilize with low growth of new equipment, the existence of viable used market and prices stabilizing with margins being soso at best. For device insert any common mass market device. The only difference is the timeline. So devices took decades to become mass market devices while others only took a few years.

    2. RyokuMas Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Yet again...

      "It's a mature market. O that Gartner and headline writers were mature enough to understand that."

      ... and the Google brainwashedfaithful who think that current OS usage stats herald the end of Windows... in my entire experience as a programmer, I have yet to see anyone developing on anything that wasn't either a PC running some flavour of Windows, or a Mac*. Certainly I've yet to meet anyone who has built anything on a Chromebook or an Android-based device...

      *OK, back in the pre-PC days, I used to use an Atari ST.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Yet again...

        "in my entire experience as a programmer, I have yet to see anyone developing on anything that wasn't either a PC running some flavour of Windows, or a Mac*."

        Although I did end my working life slumming on Windows I've used a whole slew of Unices including SCO on my old laptop as development and operational platforms. I also had colleagues developing on VMS. And personally I started out on ICL 1900.

        There's a lot more to life than Windows & Macs.

    3. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: Yet again...

      They're just using the ones they have and don't need to replace them very often.

      Indeed. Setting aside users with specific needs for high-performance computing, a five-year-old Core i5 will still meet most people's day-to-day computing needs. If you max out the RAM and install an SSD, it'll still be good for a couple of more years. Why spend the money for a new box?

      Paying out $400-700 every year or two for a new phone has also consumed a lot of people's tech budgets, that in the past they might have spent on PCs. An 18-month-old smartphone is unsupported and a two-year-old device is a hopeless dinosaur; meanwhile, that old Lenovo or Dell laptop is still chugging away, and still gets OS and app updates. Guess where the money goes...

    4. Halfmad

      Re: Yet again...

      I also find I'm increasingly being asked to build PCs for people, they may not have the confidence to do it themselves so just want me to hang out and double check things for them. I've no problem doing this as I'm the sort these days who says "I'm not private IT support" and I stick to that. But I'm happy to help give them confidence to tackle their build.

      I've recently helped my 71 year old dad build his first gaming PC, he was bored after my mother died last year and he's gotten right into Skyrim and the Total War series since (with a bit of rocket league thrown in).

      He was able to build the PC he wanted, with the monitor he wanted etc and without software he didn't want or pressure to buy "tech support" etc during the after sales pitch.

      Company wise we still replace PCs in a cycle, which I think is increasingly mad and even our directors are starting to see it that way, PC slow? shove in another gig of RAM if it's a 64bit OS and an SSD, job done 99% of the time.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yet again...

      That's probably true. It's not like people need to upgrade every few years to get the new processor or more memory, it is just overkill at this point.

      I would say there is more going on than longer refresh cycles though. 1) People don't like Windows 10. 2) More people spend their cash on phones which they use for browsing, games, email, etc and use their work computer when a laptop is needed instead of having a personal laptop. 3) Chromebook, which really is a PC but not included in Gartner's numbers, is growing rapidly.

  3. chivo243 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    If only now..

    Vendors would raise the specs of the bargain computers, maybe people would be interested. I know I'm not interested in a low end comparable to my high end box from 7 years ago. However, if the price was competitive and specs with enough of a bump, it might be interesting...

  4. N2 Silver badge

    Consumers

    Now have a choice

    & dont want to be spied on.

    1. Naselus

      Re: Consumers

      ..you realise, of course, that the segment pushing PCs out is mobile devices, 85% of which are on Android, which harvests so much data it makes a Win 10 PC look like air-gaped hyper-secure intelligence compound.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Consumers

        mobile is NOT "pushing PCs out". it's a different market. There's nothing to indicate that people generally purchase fondleslabs and smartphones to REPLACE (or instead of) a PC.

        Micro-shaft failed to realize this, and now we have Win-10-nic killing new PC sales even *MORE*. I mean, who wants to replace a perfectly good PC running Windows 7 with something that has barely higher specs and Win-10-nic?

    2. RyokuMas Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Consumers

      If consumers cared whether or not they were spied on, Google would be out of business and Duck Duck Go would be #1 search engine.

      Alas this is not the case.

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Consumers

        To be fair, Duck Duck Go isn't exactly making it easy for me to love them; I did set them as default search on a new browser install but there were so many instances where it could literally not find more than 3-4 hits (where direct Google was still churning out lots of something) that I simply had to abandon them on purely pragmatic grounds.

        Now I do realize one can argue about exactly how relevant the results returned by Google were, but that's neither here nor there - it applies equally to ANY set of results returned by ANY engine: much of it is dreck so it's only of any use if I'm reasonably good at knowing which results are the promising ones to investigate. But to make that work I first need a list of results to select from, and Duck Duck Go was failing me repeatedly. Now I do realise your experience might be drastically different, but that's what happened to me...

        1. Tim99 Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: Consumers

          @DropBear

          The Bang is your friend: Link - DuckDuckGo

          If you type in !g "your search" you will get an encrypted Google Search. It can be misleading (a good thing?). I typed in "VW Polo" directly into Google which came back with adverts for my country of residence - !g "VW Polo" in DuckDuckGo came back with a Google Search with fewer adverts which were for another country...

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. jason 7

    Yawn....

    ...we know why and we don't care.

  6. davcefai

    Reality Check

    Did anybody really think that sales would keep increasing ad infinitum?

    Unlike in the early days we all now have more power in the boxes than we need so where's the incentive to upgrade?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ad infinitum

      Yes. When people see superlinear / hockeystick growth, they always assume it will go on forever.

      Phones, Tablets, App stores. Until the market saturated.

      Tablets were going to replace ALL computers for office and productivity, until they didn't.

      Pokemon Go, until 99.99% got bored of the fad.

      Anyone remember a company called Zynga?

  7. The Average Joe

    Consumers are making a choice...

    they are not liking the choice of Windows 8/8.1/10

    The hardware price for RAM is up because they switched from DDR3 to DDR4. LOL

    SSD's for the consumer are about the same.

    iPads are the best compute devices for our parents and grand parents, Windows is too complex, and windows has always been too complex. Now that we can choose a complex windows machine or an ipad we pick the easy route, the iPad...

    1. Naselus

      Re: Consumers are making a choice...

      You appear to be using a talking point from 2012.

      Total iPad quarterly sales are 13 million, which is less than 25% of the size of the PC market, and they're continuing to shrink about 20% year-on-year (and have been for the last 3 years). The entire tablet market from all vendors is about 50 million devices a quarter (20% smaller than the PC market) and is shrinking by 10% year on year (and again, has been for quite a while now).

      It's pretty obvious that tablets are not replacing PCs, and outside the fever dreams of some Gartner analysts they never were; there's no correlation between Tablet sales and PC sales. Both rise and fall (or, rather, fall and fall) independently of each other. Instead, they're both just mature markets - hardware has been fairly stable for the past decade, so many people see little reason to replace either rapidly.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Consumers are making a choice...

      "iPads are the best compute devices for our parents and grand parents"

      Some of us in the grandparents age group were using compute devices a very long time ago. Judging from your juvenile approach, long before you were born. We've seen punched cards fall by the wayside. We've seen the rise and fall of DEC, the 8-bit processor, the 16-bit and the 32-bit. No, we do not all want your shiny toys. Go back to playing with your phone.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Consumers are making a choice...

        Been there, done those. You know, you guys remind me of the Sega Genesis/SNES or PC/Mac days. Here's what I always loved; shut your stupid traps and just get both, unless you are a desktop admin and can't afford but one O' 'tother. I have laptops and desktops of all types, mostly Macs and Linux, and Samesong and Apple pads, and the tablets are almost always better at browsing and other light-duty tasks where you don't want/need to sit in front of the "workstation." They're like light day mini pads, if you will. :P And you won't. For the larger systems, those get to hold files and serve them, and generate content for Kodi/iDevices and generally heat up the place. So, one does not supplant the other. And most work places only hand out Windorks laptops, unless they are making some dosh, then you can choose a Powerbook Pro or a Windozey system. Either way I just stick Vbox/Vagrant on it and run a CentOS VM to do real work. Also, Xbox360 > PS3! Bus wankers! :P

  8. Dave 15

    What I want

    A PC with an ability to select a suitable OS preinstalled, maybe a linux variation, maybe an older windows or maybe (if I was crazy) windows 10, or perhaps just dial boot?

    What about a solid state hd with the apps/os/temp storage and a large slower one for stuff I want for longer

    A decent screen resolution doesn't affect me as I am blind as a bat, but at least the ability to plug in a couple of the newer connections and enough usbs to have mouse and a few other connected devices. Hopefully not weighing in at a ton either

    With all of that and a sensible price I might update from the really old one I still lug around,

    1. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: What I want

      You just described a laptop, I think, but you said PC. Not all PCs are laptops.

    2. DropBear Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: What I want

      "A PC with an ability to select a suitable OS preinstalled, maybe a linux variation, maybe an older windows or maybe (if I was crazy) windows 10, or perhaps just dial boot?"

      Wouldn't that technically be a VT100 or equivalent though...?

  9. Daedalus Silver badge

    Great? Super!!!

    The great unwashed are abandoning PC's for their zombie slabs and pocket joy boxes. That leaves PC's for the people who know how to use them, which means there won't be so many laptops engineered to look good on the shelf but be as much use as an extra nostril.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Great? Super!!!

      "as much use as an extra nostril."

      There are too many who would appreciate the extra nostril.

  10. Stoke the atom furnaces

    My current desktop machine came second hand from a school in Virginia via Ebay for $22. I upgraded it with a SSD and a 45nm 3.2GHz Quad Core Phenom II, and I think I am good to keep going for at least another two to three years.

  11. The Brave Sir Robin

    Because modern laptops suck

    A few years ago you could buy Inspiron laptops with 1920x1200 screens and fast HDs. You could customise on purchase with a choice of screens, memory, graphics cards, hard drives and upgrades to Windows Pro.

    Today, affordable laptops aren't customisable, have really shitty 1300x760 screens, slow hard drives and not enough RAM. You can't get a good mid-range PC as good as the ones from a few years ago. So why buy a new one when it is more than likely not as good as the one you already have.

    PC manufacturers are their own worst enemy here. Make the machines as good as they used to be and people will buy them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Because modern laptops suck

      "PC manufacturers are their own worst enemy here. Make the machines as good as they used to be and people will buy them."

      To compete with Surface? I don't think that the OEMs want to compete with the OS provider at the high end of the market. MSFT has just thrown the OEMs under the bus. Also, the low end of the market is huge, the high end, $1,000 plus, is relatively small... and still dominated by Apple. Clearly making Windows PCs is a losing game for HP, Dell, Lenovo, etc. It is shrinking and MSFT is now trying to take over every $700 plus PC... the money making corporate market. MSFT is as much, or more, a competitor as a partner at this point.

  12. ecofeco Silver badge

    PC sales have always been cyclical

    That said, what compelling reason do people have to go buy new PCs?

    None that I can think of. A quad core with a decent vid, NIC, HDD and RAM is about all anyone needs these days.

    That's every computer made in the last 4 years.

  13. Revelationman

    I still have a 6 year old Dell XPS with iCore 5 running perfect on Windows 10 , I believe that most people like myself are keeping their old clunkers because they still do the job. I have always told people why go out spend money on new, when the is older high spec machines cheap a chips out there, will do the job without any issues, my processor hardly breaks a sweat with 10,

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