PC Shipments Fell Sharply Last Quarter :HIDC and Canalys both reported that the PC market had a difficult first quarter, with worldwide shipments of desktops and laptops down by over 30% in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same time in 2022. IDC estimates a decline of 29% to 56.9 million units, while Canalys estimates a decline of 32.6 percent to 54 million units.
Apple seems to have been the worst impacted, despite the fact that all five of the largest manufacturers had double-digit decreases. IDC claims a 40.5 percent decline in shipments, whilst Canalys reports a 45.5 percent decline. The market share of the Mac maker, according to both research firms, has also decreased by one to two percentage points.
Decrease in Mac Shipment
The decrease in Mac shipments isn’t particularly shocking. Apple previously stated that sales of its laptops will “fall sharply” in its most recent financial announcement, which covered the three months ending December 31st, 2022. These reports, however, put Apple’s decline in the perspective of an entire sector that has been struggling for several quarters. According to Canalys, the first quarter of 2023 saw double-digit yearly reductions for PC manufacturers as a whole for the fourth consecutive quarter.
There seem to be a few connected causes behind the decline. One is the cessation of the recent surge in demand that occurred when everyone loaded up on computer equipment to enable workers and students to study and work from home. Yet, this is not the whole picture because, according to IDC, shipments this quarter were “noticeably lower” than they were prior to the epidemic. Ishan Dutt of Canalys points to increased interest rates in the US and Europe as another factor contributing to the decline in demand, suggesting that broader economic uncertainties may also be at play.
Demand Expected to Increase
Demand is expected to increase in the second half of 2023 and 2024, according to both IDC and Canalys. By 2024, an aged installed base will begin needing a renewal, according to Linn Huang of IDC. If the economy is improving by then, “we anticipate strong market growth as consumers seek out new products, educational institutions look to replace outdated Chromebooks, and companies upgrade to Windows 11.” Huang warns, though, that “recovery might be a grind if recession in important areas lingers on into next year.”
According to IDC, there is at least one benefit to this decline in demand: supply chains are receiving some breathing room to heal, allowing PC manufacturers to consider choices outside of China. Last week’s Bloomberg article on Apple’s efforts to diversify its production in the face of growing geopolitical concerns was excellent.