PC sales slow down after two years of double-digit gains

The news: PC sales are slumping now that the pandemic-driven buying spree is over.

Why it’s worth watching: The International Data Corporation noted that global PC sales have declined 5.1% YoY in Q1 2022. The news comes on the heels of two years of double-digit growth, per The Register. 

  • The decline is a reflection of rising costs and market saturation after unprecedented demand. IDC says the ebb isn’t a “downward spiral” for PC manufacturers but rather a readjustment. The research firm noted that notebook sales declined while desktops grew slightly.
  • Mac shipments defied the downward trend and saw a 4.3% YoY growth in Q1 2022, with 7.2 million Mac shipments. Apple is nearing completion of its transition to Apple Silicon from Intel-based models, which likely propelled a surge in sales. 
  • On the PC-side, Lenovo saw a 9.2% decline in shipments to 18.3 million shipments, HP had a 17.8% reduction or 15.8 million shipments, and Dell saw a 6.1% growth or 12 million shipments.
  • The PC-wide decline is attributed to compounded supply chain shortages, global logistics challenges, as well as possible market saturation after pandemic-led demand. 
  • Despite the downturn, PC vendors still shipped 80 million desktops, notebooks, and workstations for a seventh consecutive quarter, which hasn’t happened since 2012, per The Register.
  • Microsoft’s Windows 11 does not seem to be a factor for new PC buyers. Windows 11 has only managed to grow its share by 19.3% to 19.4% since the start of the year. Windows 10 usage, however, increased from 21.0% in February to 28.5% in March, per the AdDuplex Windows 11 User Share survey.

What’s next? PC vendors could become more selective in what units they produce and ship to adjust to consumer demand. 

“We have witnessed some slowdown in both the education and consumer markets, but all indicators show demand for commercial PCs remains very strong,” said IDC Program Vice President Ryan Reith.

  • Global return-to-office plans will continue to fuel commercial PC sales as companies entice workers back to physical office spaces.
  • PC makers may need to lean on innovation and newer form-factors like convertible 2-in-1's, gaming PC's, and tablets to attract consumers and the educational segment.