PC Shipments Fall Last Quarter, with Apple Among Hardest Hit

    Canalys and IDC reported that worldwide shipments for desktops and laptops fell by around 30% in the first quarter 2023, compared to the same quarter 2022. Canalys reports a 32.6 percent drop to 54 million units while IDC reports a decline of 29 percent to 56.9M units. Canalys reports a decrease of 32.6 percent.

    All five major manufacturers experienced double-digit declines but Apple seems to be the hardest. Canalys reports a drop in shipments of 40.5 percent while IDC reports that it dropped by 40.5 percent. Both research houses indicate that the Mac manufacturer’s market share also fell by one to two percentage points.

    It’s not surprising that Mac shipments have dropped. Apple previously reported a 29 percent drop in Mac shipments during its most recent earnings release. This was despite having previously warned that its computer sales would decline substantially. Canalys noted that the fourth consecutive quarter of declines in annual sales for PC manufacturers was Q1 2023.

    The drop could be due to a number of interconnected reasons. The first is the end to the boom in demand over the past few years, when everyone stockpiled computer hardware to enable students and employees to work and study from home. IDC noted that this quarter’s shipment were “noticeably less” than the pre-pandemic level. Ishan Dutt, Canalys’ economist, cites interest rate increases in Europe and the US as another reason for lower demand.

    Canalys and IDC both predict that demand will increase in the second half 2023 and 2024. Linn Huang, IDC’s director of research, said that by 2024, the aging installed base would be ready for refreshment. “If the economy trends upwards by then we expect significant market upside as consumers seek to refresh, schools replace worn Chromebooks, and businesses migrate to Windows 11,” Huang cautioned.

    According to IDC, there is at least one upside to the drop in demand. Supply chains have some breathing room to recover and allow PC makers to explore other countries. Bloomberg had a great article last week about Apple’s efforts to diversify its manufacturing under increasing geo-political pressures .

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