PC sales still declining, but might rebound in 2016

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While mobile phone purchasing is on the rise, all other areas of electronic device spending are down, according to a new report from research group Gartner. In fact, total device growth this year was 1.3 percent, up from 2014, but short of the expected 2.8 percent year-over-year gain.

According to research director Ranjit Atwal, “this was partly due to a continued slowdown in PC purchases in Western Europe, Russia, and Japan in particular, largely due to price increases resulting from local currency devaluation against the dollar.” It also had to do with ending support for Windows XP, which hurt sales so far this year, but the currency devaluation was a more significant factor.

There was, however, a rise in what the Gartner report refers to as “Ultramobile (Premium)” sales. That category includes devices like Microsoft’s Surface line, and the Apple MacBook Air. These devices are becoming increasingly popular, and the sales numbers reflect that.

There’s a silver lining for PC sales, and it comes in the form of Windows 10, though it won’t solve the problems right away. The Gartner report actually suggests that the release of Microsoft’s newest OS will reduce sales initially, but over the next year as prices settle, businesses and end users will end up buying replacement devices to support the new software.

The mobile market is growing a lot faster than the PC market right now, but there’s a limit to its growth in the near future. The Gartner report points out that smartphone growth in China is slowing, and manufacturers will have to start moving buyers towards replacement and premium devices if they want to keep sales up. On the other hand, the new Windows 10 release should precede a resurgence in desktop and laptop sales.

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