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PC shipments have slowed, but overall demand remains strong

By Catherine Knowles
Tue 12 Apr 2022

PC shipments have begun to slow, following two years of strong growth, according to IDC.

Global shipments of traditional PCs, including desktops, notebooks, and workstations, declined 5.1% in the first quarter of 2022 (1Q22) but exceeded earlier forecasts, according to preliminary results from the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker.

The PC market is coming off two years of double-digit growth, so while the first quarter decline is a change in this momentum, it doesn't mean the industry is in a downward spiral, IDC states.

Despite ongoing supply chain and logistical challenges, vendors still shipped 80.5 million PCs during the quarter. The 1Q22 volume marks the seventh consecutive quarter where global shipments surpassed 80 million, a feat not seen since 2012.

IDC Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers group vice president Ryan Reith says, "The focus shouldn't be on the year-over-year decline in PC volumes because that was to be expected. The focus should be on the PC industry managing to ship more than 80 million PCs at a time when logistics and supply chain are still a mess, accompanied by numerous geopolitical and pandemic-related challenges.

"We have witnessed some slowdown in both the education and consumer markets, but all indicators show demand for commercial PCs remains very strong. We also believe that the consumer market will pick up again in the near future. The result of 1Q22 was PC shipment volumes that were near record levels for a first quarter."

Commenting on the robust consumer trends in January 2021, Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC's Mobile and Consumer Device Trackers, said, "2021 has truly been a return to form for the PC. Consumer need for PCs in emerging markets and global commercial demand remained strong during the quarter with supply being a gating factor.

"While consumer and educational demand has tapered in some developed markets, we continue to believe the overall PC market has reset at a much higher level than before the pandemic."

The rankings among the top vendors remained unchanged in 1Q22 compared to the fourth quarter of 2021. Lenovo remained the top company with 22.7% market share, followed by HP, Dell Technologies and Apple.

ASUS and Acer tied for the number five position in 1Q22. Dell, Apple, and ASUS were the only top-tier vendors that saw year-over-year shipment growth.

As a result of the on-going supply chain shortages and a challenging comparison to a strong 1Q21, notebook PCs saw a year-over-year decline while desktops grew slightly.

IDC Quarterly PC Monitor Tracker research manager Jay Chou says, "Even as parts of the market slow due to demand saturation and rising costs, we still see some silver linings in a market that has reached an inflection point towards a slower pace of growth.

"Aside from commercial spending on PCs, there are still emerging markets where demand had been neglected in the earlier periods of the pandemic, and higher end consumer demand also has held up."

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