PC Shipments See Major Decline in Q4 and Full Year, Report Says

2015 was the first year since 2008 that total global PC shipments came in below 300 million.

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Worldwide PC shipments continued their downward trend in Q4 2015, totaling 71.9 million units during the period, according to a report from the International Data Corporation released this week.

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That's a drop of 10.6 percent compared to the same period last year, though IDC notes that these numbers are in fact in line with its "already conservative" expectations. Still, 2015 was the first year since 2008 that total global PC shipments came in below 300 million units, according to the report.

Q4 sales were up modestly over Q3, but the 10.6 percent drop was the largest in IDC's history. Before this, this biggest year-over-year quarterly decline was -9.8 percent, recorded in 2013.

"Detachable tablets" are counted separately from PCs in this report. Had they been included, it would have increased the total growth by about 6 percentage points for Q4 and 3 percentage points for 2015, resulting in a Q4 decline of about -5 percent and -7.5 percent for the full year.

Here's how IDC summarized and explained the PC shipment downward trend for this year:

"The PC market continued to face persistent challenges from longer-PC lifecycles and competition from mobile phones and tablets, despite the slowing growth in those markets," IDC said in its report. "However, economic issues like falling commodity prices and weak international currencies, as well as social disruptions in EMEA and Asia/Pacific that disrupted foreign markets were a larger factor for 2015."

"Changes in the OS market also had a significant impact with the end of support for Windows XP and promotions of low-cost PCs driving a surge in replacements in 2014 that combined with the launch of Windows 10 and a free upgrade program to delay new system purchases in 2015. Lastly, while some very attractive new PCs have been launched, the market is taking some time to respond to new OS and hardware configurations--deciding when to upgrade and evaluating slim, convertible, detachable, and touch variations vs. more traditional PCs. Nevertheless, many of these products have received positive reviews and there's potential for a faster commercial transition to Windows 10 in 2016 than we saw for prior versions of Windows."

IDC also supplied a series of charts for the performance of the biggest PC vendors. As you'll see, Lenovo leads the way for Q4 and all of 2015; HP was No. 3, Dell No. 3, and ASUS and Apple effectively tied at No. 4. Scroll down to see all of the charts.

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You can read the full IDC report here.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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ughz

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Edited By ughz

Yay meaningless figures without context are meaningless. This means nothing. A) Companies do not buy a lot of computers, it's just fact. More and more companies get by with recycling their existing inventory and re-imaging machines to suit new purposes. B) Most consumers do not buy pre-built PCs often, and especially gamers do not.

All this really demonstrates is a migration of casual non-PC users away from traditional PCs into the mobile trash market. They figure they can do what they need to on a tablet (they can't - unless what they "need" to do is just browse the web) and so that's what they're buying. The reality is mobiles are still crap for productivity and in the real world still only serve limited roles, mostly for field technicians just to look at diagnostic crap on them. That's all we use them for at AT&T.

Hell even I've bought two tablets in the past couple of years while buying no "PCs". I simply bought a new GPU and maybe some hard drives and other random components, out of necessity. The only thing I would have any reason to buy is a laptop, because I haven't had one for a long time, and it would better entertain me on long bus rides around town or excursions to the airport.

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hystavito

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While I cannot blame the average consumer for preferring convenience (like tablets) over performance (traditional laptops/PCs) the sad part of all this is the shift backwards towards closed systems. We have traded in so much freedom and standardization for that convenience, throwing out decades of progress towards more open technology. Even the web which was supposed to become an open common ground of standards for different devices has been hurt by the dominance of "apps".

It's all Apple's fault, if they hadn't been so damned successful :), everyone else wouldn't have followed with their own closed devices and platforms and app stores.

Anyway the decline of PCs is old news I guess. I'm not a fanatic or a cheerleader, but what sucks for those of us who want to keep building PCs is this will lead to higher prices and less selection for components.

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ughz

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Edited By ughz

@hystavito: It won't lead to decline in selection or raise in price. PC components have literally gotten cheaper every single year, year over year, for the past 25 years. The only things that remain expensive are g-sync monitors at about 800 dollars, and the brand new i7s.

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LouiXIII

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Console sales are up and PC sales are down. All of the DIY'ers aren't helping but then again...when it's so easy to switch out parts who could blame em lol Like one member mention...PC aren't on the decline...some are just making the switch to tablets/surface pro.

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MilkyMilkshake

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That is because people who buy PCs for gaming don't buy an actual PC, they buy parts for it which I'm guessing aren't counted in this survey

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so_hai

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When PC players boast about PC dominance, they use all the figures. When the numbers don't suit their bias, they claim that the numbers are wrong. And those touting DIY PCs would make up the difference, please give us the link to that data.

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carsomnyr

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@so_hai: Thats pre built PC sales not parts... Gamers generaly dont buy overpriced crappy premades mr ...

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so_hai

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@carsomnyr: So there are TWO types of PC gamer? Who decides who's who?

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so_hai

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Edited By so_hai

@lonesamurai1: I'll break it down for you further: are there two types of PC players, or not? The DIY people here seem to think they're separate to the others.

I predict that PC players are nowhere near as organised and unified as they try to portray.

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Damnation_6

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Edited By Damnation_6

I'd be more interested in how the PC market is doing if you look in parts instead of pre-build PC's. Building your own can save you anywhere from 30-50% or more.

Put in a GTX 970 last year and put in an extra 8 GB of RAM, I will be golden for a while, probably till the next gen of consoles rolls in.

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FoGIrony

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Edited By FoGIrony

This is a bad statistic. A lot of people build their own pc. I personally just built my first one in December.

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Damnation_6

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@fogirony: Why wouldn't you...it's cheaper and you have a better chance to get good quality parts. Some manufacturers throw in a cheap motherboard or a bad power supply.

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ughz

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Edited By ughz

@Damnation_6: Exactly.

I'm pricing a build right now to replace my faithful yet in need of retirement gaming rig. I'd happily pay 2600 or whatever I priced for a pre-built, but even after choosing every individual component to the extent websites will let me, it's not what I want. The case I want is a Thermaltake G10 which went off the market a long time ago and is $200 to still get one, and I shant settle for anything else.

It probably won't end up being cheaper for me, though, to be honest, unless I find a killer deal on a video card or a processor and mobo combo.

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Geogyf

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I didnt bought a pre-built PC. I think you only buy a pre-built PC if you dont have even the basic experience in comuters.

Me and my brother purchased the individual components from various companies and the store assembled it. It is much more cheaper and efficient.

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PsychicKiller82

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Edited By PsychicKiller82

PCs are dying!! Consoles and tablets are the future!!

Xbox FTW!!

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LouiXIII

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@PsychicKiller82: Wow...I had no idea people still used angel dust lol Thank you for debunking that rumor :D

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bfa1509

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This is a bullshit statistic as it doesn't count DIY PCs, which have become hugely fool proof in the last decade. If anything it's good that pre built PCs are losing out as it hits the greedy middlemen hard. I advise everyone who wants a PC to take the risk, buy some fantastic components and build it yourself!!

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kadaverhagga

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Do they only count pre built brand pc's or also enthusiast pc hardware? They are right about longer pc lifecycles. There is no need to upgrade och buy new hardware as often anymore. I built my gaming rig from scratch in early 2014 and it plays most games at 60fps avarage 1440p and will last me a past this console generation without any upgrades.

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SavageRodent

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Bought a pre-built PC 3 years ago, and I just simply upgraded my hardware. Just about everything in my rig is new now. :D

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lfebaggins

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That is because nobody buys computers from these manufacturers anymore with their crap stock parts and preloaded malware that slows down their already sluggish computers. If you want to game on the PC, build it yourself or get a friend to.

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FallenOneX

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Edited By FallenOneX

""Detachable tablets" are counted separately from PCs in this report."

Before I even finished the article, I figured that tablets were to be part of the blame. From where I sit, I don't see as many people buying new PC's because of the increasing power of tablets, and the ease of building your own (PC) has increased a ton. I go to sites like Dell just to see how much I shouldn't spend on my next PC (which should be done Summer if I can find the time).

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TheZeroPercent

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--whats sad is
--portable computer tech is not only in almost complete control of 'the growth' of the technology(strength)
--they wont be working on making faster(stronger) computer tech(over the next 5-10 years)
--as much as smaller versions(of speeds we already have)

--of course
--this depends on 'where' artificial intelligence goes in that time frame
--Ai could easily 'take off'
--and we would be back to relying on HUGE PCs for our computer based needs

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Daveof89

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Edited By Daveof89

See, the people who used to buy pre-built are all buying tablets now. The market isn't declining, it's just migrating to a different form of computer.

Of course, the majority of people here are building their own. You can't beat the price (and customization) of a home build!

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lokar82

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Everybody cool builds their own anyways. All pre-built PCs are crap and loaded with spyware/malware.

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dranwarren

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This is what happens when consoles take the lead in gaming.....

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ughz

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@dranwarren: Consoles never took the lead in gaming. 20 years ago, sure.

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AdamK47

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PC gaming is dead.

It also died last year and it will die again next year.

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FoGIrony

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Edited By FoGIrony

@AdamK47: most people who pc game don't buy from these retailer agway. They end to build their own

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megakoresh

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Edited By megakoresh

I like how they deliberately don't mention that all of these reports are for OEM machines. Also these, I presume, include laptops (otherwise Apple wouldn't be up there).

As far as actual PC gaming goes (which is what this website was supposed to be about, if it wasn't a clickbaiting web-tabloid like all the rest of them), I would assume people are waiting on the new GPU architecture from Nvidia which is supposed to arrive soon and should offer a lot more VRAM per dollar so to speak. If nothing else this news indicates that people are finally coming to their senses and are starting to be a bit more considerate about buying an OEM PC or a laptop. They are almost always poor value (especially Apple ones). That's good.

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Yams1980

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so little reason to upgrade your pc as often these days. I can see this being why less sales. If you bought an i7 second gen in 2011, that thing is still just fine for gaming even in 2016. Only thing you really needed to upgrade is the video card. In gaming on my 2600k and 4700k, i noticed next to no change in performance, and most people aren't going to get a brand new pc just for 10-15% speed improvement in gaming.

I think this trend will just continue as making cpus that beat out older gens becomes even more difficult. Theres a point where the speed they can get from a cpu is just going to bottom out and all they can do is add more and more cores and thats not what most people need.

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ughz

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@Yams1980: I'm unfortunately running a 1st gen 860, :( lol. The time has come.

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deactivated-5887c3545bd6c

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@Yams1980: i5 3470 running like a champ and i dont plan on upgrading for atleast another 2 years

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xcollector

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@Yams1980: My 2600k is still going too. The improvements have been in power management, not performance, thanks to mobile devices for better and worse.

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ishsgames

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There are a couple of obvious reason's why this is happening:
(1) Its very easy to purchase components at a good price
(2) Its easy to build a PC.
(3) Its becoming useless to upgrade a PC from 2012
(4) No need to upgrade gaming PCs now a days since were stuck in the GCN 1.0 and 600 series Keplar era until ps5 and x2 come out, where we are probably going to held back once again....Thank MS and Sony.

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Random_Matt

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This is all about OEM's, your Dell's, Lenovo's etc. Why is this on Gamespot, oh wait, click/flame bait.

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Unreal849

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@Random_Matt: yeah, just waiting for some console fanboys to show up and start yelling "lolz death of pc gaming hurr durr"

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froidnite

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Edited By froidnite

@unreal849: lolz death of pc gaming hurr durr

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Unreal849

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@froidnite: THANK YOU

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smoker1993

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Edited By smoker1993

This probably does not take into consideration custom build PC's that shops build on their own which i feel like is a pretty huge market.

But that goes to component sales i ques.

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