Sales of desktop and laptop computers fell last year, extending a slide started in 2012, according to figures released on Wednesday by two market trackers.
Preliminary figures from Gartner Inc indicated that PC shipments last year reached 269.7 million units in a 6.2 percent decline from the previous year.
International Data Corp (IDC) pegged the number of machines shipped last year at 260 million, representing a 5.7 percent drop from the previous year.
“Stagnation in the [personal computer] market continued into the fourth quarter of 2016 as holiday sales were generally weak due to the fundamental change in PC buying behavior,” Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa said in a release.
“The broad PC market has been static as technology improvements have not been sufficient to drive real market growth,” she said.
While there has been growth in sales of innovative new machines such as hybrid laptops with removable tablet screens, the demand was not enough to offset a drop in sales of traditional models, Gartner said.
Another factor was that people were putting off replacing desktops or laptops because they use them infrequently, opting instead to go online with smartphones, Kitagawa said.
Despite market stagnation, she saw potential for PCs in business and gaming.
IDC analysts said the latest figures indicate that PC growth has begun to stabilize as pressure on the market from smartphones and tablets eased.
“The fourth-quarter results reinforce our expectations for market stabilization, and even some recovery,” IDC vice president of personal computing tracker and forecasting Loren Loverde said.
“The contraction in traditional PC shipments experienced over the past five years finally appears to be giving way as users move to update systems.”
China-based Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想) remained the leader in the global PC market, followed by US firms HP Inc and Dell Inc. All three increased their share of the market in the final quarter of last year, according to both industry trackers.
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