Worldwide PC shipments dropped another 3.7% in the fourth quarter of 2016 from the fourth quarter of 2015, according to Gartner.
In total, 2016 PC shipments equaled 269.7 million units, a 6.2% decline from 2015. It’s the fifth consecutive annual drop in PC shipments.
Lenovo continued to be the biggest PC seller, followed by HP. Both companies actually recorded slight shipment growth for the year, but big drops in the Others category (down 20.9%) and from Asus (down 48.3%) combined to bring the overall sales number down.
Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa chalks the PC decline up to a fundamental change in tech buying behavior. People are generally buying more portable technologies like notebooks and smartphones, both of which have become more powerful and improved battery life over the last several years.
People are therefore less dependent on traditional PCs. While there are still growth opportunities in some areas of the market, like business and gaming, they won’t be enough to offset massive declines on the consumer side, Gartner says.
Last June, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said the upgrade cycle for PCs has slowed down from an average four years to nearly six years. While this is good news for consumers — and businesses looking to save with less-frequent tech upgrades — it could continue to hamper the struggling market.