Saturday 7 December 2019

Apple stands defiant as PC market suffers steepest drop in history

Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller with the new iMac (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller with the new iMac (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Rhiannon Williams

Apple was one of two computer manufacturers to buck the slowing trend and increase its market share during 2015, as the PC market suffered its worst decline in history, falling 10.6pc from 2014.

The Californian company increased its global computer market share by 2.8pc in the fourth quarter of 2015 to 7.9pc compared to a year previously - the largest growth of any vendor that year, according to figures from analyst IDC.

Rival HP saw their market share fall by 10.1pc in the same period, compared to Dell's 5.7pc loss. Chinese rival Lenovo saw its share fall by 4.5pc to 20pc, retaining its position as the world's most popular PC maker thanks to strong sales in north America.

Asus sales were their strongest since 2012, as the company increased its share by 0.8pc.

Apple revived its MacBook range with the launch of the 12-inch MacBook in March, and updated its iMacs with 4K and 5K Retina displays in October.

Overall PC sales in 2015 fell by 10.6pc compared to the previous year, as consumers hang on to their devices for longer and increasingly turn to tablets and larger-screened smartphones. Weak international currency and economic conditions, particularly in China, also played a part.

The largely well-received launch of Windows 10 was another deterrent to consumers buying new machines, as millions upgraded in the weeks afterwards for free

Worldwide PC shipments fell for the fourth consecutive year since 2012, which another researcher Gartner attributes to the wider launch of tablets.

Both tablet and smartphone markets have slowed in recent years, as developed economies reach saturation point and companies turn their attention towards expanding into lucrative developing marketplaces.

Despite Korean rival Samsung holding a larger market share, Apple makes significantly more money from its devices, reporting the biggest annual profit of any company in corporate history - some $53.4 billion (£35bn) - in October. iPhones sales increased profits in the fourth quarter by 31pc.

According to research from Bloomberg, the high mark-up on Apple's unapologetically expensive iPhones has caused the company to mop up more than 90pc of all profit within the mobile industry, as other manufacturers HTC, LG, Samsung and Sony struggle.

In recent years HTC, LG and Sony's smartphone sales have slumped, and Samsung's have also suffered under increasing pressure from native brands in China and India at the cheaper end of the market, where Xiaomi and Micromax are hugely popular.

However, PC sales are expected to return to growth later this year, as customers are tempted by new products with attractive lower pricing.

"Consumer sentiment toward PCs remains a challenge, though clearly there are pockets of growth," said Jay Chou, research manager at IDC. "Even as mainstream desktop and notebooks see their lifetimes stretched ever longer, Apple's emergence as a top five global PC vendor in 2015 shows that there can be strong demand for innovative, even premium-priced systems that put user experience first."

Also in Business