Photograph by Thomas Barwick via Getty Images
By Jonathan Vanian
January 12, 2017

The struggling market for desktop computers and laptops suffered another tough year.

Overall shipments of PCs dropped 5.7% year-over-year in 2016 to 260 million, according to a report Wednesday by market research firm International Data Corporation.

Lenovo was the biggest PC maker last year with 55.5 million PCs shipped, a 3% decline from the 57 million shipped in 2015. The company has a 21.3% share of the PC market, IDC said.

HP, Inc. (hpq) is a close second, however, with shipments of 54.2 million PCs in 2016, up 1.3% year over year. It had 21% of the PC market.

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Dell Technologies came in third with 40.7 million PCs shipped in 2016, up 4.3% from the previous year. Dell had about 14% of the PC market.

As for Apple (aapl), the technology giant shipped 18.4 million PCs in 2016, a nearly 10% drop from 2015. IDC did not say why Apple saw such a steep decline. In previous IDC reports released in 2016, however, IDC has said that Apple shipments have declined because the company has not updated its lineup of PCs, thus opening itself to competitors. With Apple releasing its new MacBook Pro model in fall, IDC said that the company’s shipments were flat in the fourth quarter having shipped 5.3 million devices.

Despite PC shipments declining in 2016, IDC said that overall fourth quarter shipment results indicate a possible PC market rebound in the New Year. PC shipments during the quarter declined 1.5% year-over-year to 70.2 million, a much slower pace than the 4.5% to 3.9% year-over year declines in the second and third quarters, respectively.

“The fourth quarter results reinforce our expectations for market stabilization, and even some recovery,” Loren Loverde, IDC vice president of personal computing trackers and forecasting, said in a statement. “The contraction in traditional PC shipments experienced over the past five years finally appears to be giving way as users move to update systems.”

It should be noted, however, that PC shipments plummeted over 10% year-over-year during the fourth quarter of 2015, which means that although fourth quarter PC shipments fell only slightly in the latest quarter, they’re still far from making up for the big drop in shipments last year.

IDC said that 17 million PCs were shipped in the U.S. during the fourth quarter, which made for a “slight decline” from the previous year during the same time period. Neha Mahajan, IDC senior research analyst of devices and displays, referred to U.S. PC market as having a “strong last quarter of the year” partly because of “impressive growth in the retail PC segment,” which IDC didn’t elaborate on.

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“Although this might signal regained consumer confidence in the PC market, with most of the sales being driven by aggressive promotions in the holiday season, it needs to be seen how much of the real demand is carried forward in the coming quarters,” said Mahajan.

 

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