Virginia Tech mechanical engineering grad students check computer code on deskto Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

Virginia Tech mechanical engineering grad students check computer code on desktops on campus. Personal computer sales are down almost 8% from last year.

Computer Shipments Sink Under Weight of Strong Dollar

A total of 73.7 million personal computers were shipped during the third quarter of the year, a number that includes desktop, laptop and notebook computers, and is down 7.7% from the same time last year.

SAN FRANCISCO — Worldwide shipments of personal computers sank in the recently ended quarter with a strong U.S. dollar weighing down sales, market tracker Gartner reported on Thursday.

A total of 73.7 million personal computers were shipped during the third quarter, down 7.7% from the same period last year, according to Gartner figures. The category includes desktop, laptop and notebook computers, but not devices in the booming mobile market.

The global PC market has been hit with price increases of around 10% throughout the year due to the sharp appreciation of the U.S. dollar against local currencies, according to Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa.

“In the third quarter of 2015 this continued to be a major cause for weaker demand in those regions,” Kitagawa said.

Europe, Japan, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East were among the regions where the strong dollar curtailed PC shipments, according to Gartner. PC shipments in the United States and Asia/Pacific were “more stable,” the analyst noted.

The launch of Microsoft’s new Windows 10 operating system in the quarter appeared to have a minimal impact on PC shipments, according to Gartner. Microsoft focused heavily on computers already in people’s hands being upgraded to Windows 10. The U.S. software titan was likely to make promoting new Windows-powered computers a priority in the all-important year-end holiday shopping season.

A recent Gartner survey indicated that about half of consumers who took part intend to buy a new PC in the coming year. Kitagawa expected a “soft recovery” for PC sales to begin in the current quarter and a more stable year ahead.

Chinese computer maker Lenovo had a leading 20.3% share of the PC market in the third quarter, while U.S.-based Hewlett-Packard is second with 18.5%, according to Gartner estimates.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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