It is no secret that PC sales have been on the decline for a while. In fact, it has been nearly 6 years since the industry saw its last increase in sales. That changed this quarter, according to a Gartner report, which shows that the industry saw an uptake in sales. This upward trend was spurred by enterprise spending worldwide, replacing older computers with newer Windows 10 machines. According to Mikako Kitagawa of Gartner,
PC shipment growth in the second quarter of 2018 was driven by demand in the business market, which was offset by declining shipments in the consumer segment. Consumers are using their smartphones for even more daily tasks, such as checking social media, calendaring, banking and shopping, which is reducing the need for a consumer PC.
Overall, the global trend for replacing computers is because of the end of the support cycle for older versions of Windows. This is usually the cause for enterprises, who notoriously avoid modernization because of the overall cost. In a business with thousands of employees, that could mean millions of dollars worth of expense to modernize computers, so the expense is often avoided until the computers are no longer supported by the vendor (traditionally Windows, as Mac has no discernable presence in business due to its low price-to-value proposition).
With support for older versions of Windows coming to an end, this mass purchase was inevitable. After these enterprises finish updating their computer fleets, it is likely that sales will continue to trend down. The overall sales decrease is because of the change in how consumers use electronics. A decade ago, the only way to consume digital content was via a PC. Today, most people do their data consumption via less capable, but more convenient devices. For example, news and social media are mostly consumed via phones and tablets. Netflix and Hulu can be used mobile, but are also incredibly popular on Xbox, PlayStation, Roku and the like.
The drop in PC sales is not an indication of an industry in decline, however. This is because companies like Lenovo, who are best known for their laptops, also produce phones, tablets, and other more specialty devices. Samsung, which is best known for their phones, also produce incredibly specialized devices, including the Harmon Kardon Invoke smart speaker, which is an increasingly popular way to consume streaming music.Kitagawa