The PC market has had its worst year ever

Worst year ever for PC market
Worst year ever for PC market

PC shipments suffered their biggest yearly decline ever in 2015 due to headwinds ranging from the China stock turmoil to fierce competition, according to a new report.

Global PC shipments totaled 276.2 million in 2015, a 10.4 percent plunge from the 308.3 million recorded the year before, research firm the International Data Corporation (IDC), said on Tuesday.

It is the first time shipments have dipped below 300 million since 2008.

"The PC market remains competitive and the economic environment weakened further with the recent drop in the Chinese stock market," said Loren Loverde, vice-president of IDC's Worldwide PC Tracker program, said in a press release.

"However, PC replacements should pick up again in 2016, particularly later in the year. Commercial adoption of Windows 10 is expected to accelerate, and consumer buying should also stabilize by the second half of the year. Most PC users have delayed an upgrade, but can only maintain this for so long before facing security and performance issues."

ColorBlind Images| The Image Bank | Getty Images

Microsoft has been on an aggressive push to get people to upgrade to Windows 10. When it was released last year, the U.S. technology giant allowed people to upgrade for free. Since then, Microsoft recently ended its support for Windows 8 and older versions of its Internet Explorer web browser. This means that users of that software will no longer get updated security patches.

But IDC says it is seeing quick growth in "detachable tablets" or 2-in-1s – tablets that can be removed from a keyboard. Microsoft's Surface range is an example of this.

Apple posts growth

While the overall PC market declined, Apple saw shipments increase 6.2 percent, making it the only company to post a rise. It is the fourth-biggest PC vendor by market share, shipping 20.7 million devices in 2015, IDC said.

Lenovo maintained its number one position in the PC market and held over 20 percent market share. HP was the second-largest vendor with a 19.4 percent share of shipments, while Dell was third. Acer came in fifth, behind Apple.

"Even as mainstream desktop and notebooks see their lifetimes stretched ever longer, Apple's emergence as a top 5 global PC vendor in 2015 shows that there can be strong demand for innovative, even premium-priced systems that put user experience first," IDC said in a press release.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the total shipments figure for 2015 and 2014 as well as Apple's 2015 shipments.