Dell XPS 13

Research firms Gartner and IDC both showed sharp declines in PC shipments worldwide in the first quarter of 2015. Gartner stated that 71.7 million PC units shipped in the first quarter of 2015, which is a 5.2% decline from the same period a year ago. IDC said 68.5 million PC units shipped in the quarter, down by 6.7% from the same period a year ago.

Desktop shipments went down sharply, but they were partially offset by growth in other devices like Windows tablets, notebooks and hybrids. Both Gartner and IDC also noted that large businesses had now completed their hardware updates for Windows XP.

There's also hope that the launch of Windows 10 later in 2015 will help to boost PC shipments. IDC's Rajani Singh, Senior Research Analyst, Personal Computing stated:

"The upcoming launch of Windows 10 will consolidate the best of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. In addition to the free upgrade for consumers for a year after the release, Windows 10 should be a net positive as there is pent-up demand for replacements of older PCs. Only part of the installed base needs to replace systems to keep the overall growth rate above zero for rest of the year."

We will also note that Gartner has slightly changed their definitions of what is and is not considered a PC by them. In the fourth quarter of 2014, they included all Windows-based tablets. Now they are saying that they don't consider "Windows-based tablets with smaller than a 10-inch display" as a PC. Gartner still excludes Chromebooks and all non-Windows tablets in their PC shipment numbers.

Source: Gartner, IDC