PC Makers Eye Windows 10, Holiday Quarter Sales To Reverse Gloomy Q3 Shipment Declines

While the numbers are a little different, market research firms IDC and Gartner both tallied a year-on-year decline in PC shipments. The former counted 71 million PC shipments in the third quarter of 2015, down 10.8 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago, while the latter counted 73.7 million PCs, down 7.7 percent in the same time period. That's the bad news.

The good news? There's light at the end of the tunnel courtesy of Windows 10, which Microsoft recently indicated is now installed on 110 million devices. What's more, the decline in shipments wasn't unexpected. According to IDC, currency devaluation is one reason why PC shipments weren't higher than what they were, but even so, there's no need to hit the panic button.

Windows 10 Laptop

"The PC market continues to contract as expected, but we remain optimistic about future shipments," said Jay Chou, Research Manager, IDC Worldwide PC Tracker. "While PC shipments will be hampered in the short run by the availability of a free upgrade to Windows 10, the improved PC experience across user segments should drive longer-term demand for new PC hardware that is expected help stabilize the market in 2016 and beyond."

Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, offered up similar analysis. According to Kitagawa, the global PC market experienced a roughly 10 percent spike in PC prices due to "sharp appreciation of the U.S. dollar against local currencies." That continue to be a factor in the third quarter. However, a recovery is expected.

"This change in consumer preferences toward PCs was visible in the preliminary data, as we saw positive growth in U.S notebook and premium ultramobile shipments," Ms. Kitagawa said. "Soft recovery is expected to start in 4Q15, as Windows 10 product refreshes start to appear. In the meantime, PC manufacturers should adjust configurations for 2016 without the impact of price hikes seen in 2015, which will lead into more stable market conditions in the upcoming year."

On a related note, Lenovo continues to lead the way. It increased its share of the market from 19.6 percent in the third quarter of 2014 to 20.3 percent currently, according to Gartner, and from 19.7 percent to 21 percent according to IDC.