PC Sales Plummet Ahead Of Windows 10 Launch; Apple Shipments On The Rise

PC shipments nosedived nearly 12 percent in the second quarter as retailers prepped for the launch of Windows 10, yet Apple still saw its shipments rise, according to research firm IDC.

After seeing strong PC sales last year, Randy Copeland, president and CEO of Velocity Micro, a Richmond, Va.-based Microsoft partner, said his business is seeing "softer" PC sales ahead of the Windows 10 release. He added that his business has already received about 200 preorder requests for Windows 10 machines, despite the fact that the company doesn't take preorders.

"We expect to see a 20 percent sales increase in the second half over last year's sale numbers," said Copeland. "A lot of it goes with the Windows 10 launch. Windows 8 had a black eye, and Windows 8.1 didn’t help it. I think Windows 10 is the latest killer [software] in customers' minds."

[Related: The 10 Coolest Laptops Of 2015 (So Far)]

Sponsored post

The overall PC market fell 11.8 percent, shipping just over 66 million units in the second quarter of this year, down from almost 75 million shipments in the June quarter of last year. IDC says the channel was reducing inventory in preparation for this month's launch of Windows 10.

Top PC vendors who ship Windows machines all saw a decline in shipments during the second quarter. HP was hit hard, with a 10.4 percent decline in shipments, down to 12.2 million units shipped for a market share of 18.5 percent. Acer Group saw a 26.9 percent decline in shipments year-over-year, with 4.3 million units for a market share of 6.6 percent.

Apple was the only top vendor to see growth in shipments year-over-year, with 5.1 million units in the quarter for a 7.8 percent market share, up 16.1 percent from last year. The fourth-leading PC brand in the quarter released its latest laptop in March, drawing attention as the thinnest MacBook yet.

"It's cyclical," said Rick Jordan, director of sales and strategic alliances at Toronto-based Tenet Computer Group, an Apple, Microsoft, HP and Lenovo partner. "When you talk enterprise, there is a three-year run rate, and Apple is more consumer-focused. So you'll see Apple get a 16 percent bump when the other vendors drop. When it's time for a refresh, you'll see a Windows 10 release, you'll see a spike in their numbers and probably some decline in the Apple numbers as well."

Alan West, of XMS Solutions in Fort Hill, S.C., says the big dip in the market speaks to not only the anticipation for Windows 10, but also the displeasure in the enterprise for Windows 8. He says there are still many Windows 7 users who were drawn away from Windows 8's and Windows 8.1's reviews that are now clamoring for Windows 10.

"Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 got really mixed reviews," West said. "The idea that vendors didn’t want to be overstocked on Windows 8 to go to Windows 10 is legitimate. Everyone who loved Windows 8 had a touch screen. I don’t think I ever saw a good review for Windows 8.1 from someone who didn’t have a touch screen. But if you used it on a PC, like most of us do for work, it wasn’t as useful. There seems to be change for the sake of change, not change to improve. A lot of users didn't like it. I think there will be a high rush to Windows 10 from enterprise customers who still have Windows 7, and didn’t get Windows 8 because of the poor reviews."

Lenovo remains the leading PC vendor worldwide, with 20.3 percent market share, but saw a 7.5 percent decrease in shipments on the quarter year-over-year, to 13.4 million units. Dell was the third-highest-selling PC brand of the of the June quarter, with a market share of 14.5 percent, despite shipping 9.5 million units, down 8.7 percent from last year.