The pandemic-led surge in PC shipments seems to be over as the market settles into a slower growth phase at present, but the overall market remains strong, said analysts.
According to the latest International Data Corporation (IDC) report, global shipments of traditional PCs, including desktops, notebooks, and workstations, declined 5.1% in the first quarter of 2022, even though it has exceeded earlier forecasts.
In other words, 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.
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.
"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," said Ryan Reith, group vice president with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers.
For example, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Covid-19 lockdowns in China, could cause supply chain and logistical problems that reduce the shipment projections.
"We have witnessed some slow down 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."
Meanwhile, a new Canalys report publish on Monday said that the PC market revenue grew more than 15% in the first quarter of 2022 to $70 billion thanks to increase in PC prices in a supply-starved market and consumers’ demand costly PCs, Canalys report said.
According to Canalys, the PC makers achieved substantial increase in revenue despite worldwide shipments of desktops and notebooks fell 3% annually to 80.1 million units against a backdrop of major geopolitical turmoil and softening consumer demand. Notebook shipments dropped 6% to 63.2 million units, while desktop numbers grew 13% to 16.8 million units, it said.
“The resumption of workplace activity at close to pre-pandemic levels coupled with hybrid and remote workers needing higher-specified PCs to maximize productivity means business IT expenditure will remain elevated in 2022,” said Canalys Principal Analyst Rushabh Doshi in a statement.
According to both the reports, the rankings among the largest PC manufacturers didn't change last quarter.
As per IDC, Lenovo held a 22.7% market share, down 1% from a year ago. Lenovo also introduced several x86-based ThinkPad models, including the T16, the T14 Gen 3 and the X1 Extreme Gen 5. HP dropped 3% to 19.7% while Dell rose nearly 2% to 17.1%.
Dell, Apple, and ASUS were the only top-tier vendors that saw year-over-year shipment growth. Dell managed to serve its large enterprise customers while Apple met the commercial and consumer demand for its Arm-based M1-based Macs. Apple increased its market share by almost 1% to 8.9%. Asus recorded nearly a 1.5% rise to 6.9%, while Acer was flat at 6.8%.
"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," said Jay Chou. research manager for IDC's Quarterly PC Monitor Tracker.
Aside from commercial spending on PCs, Chou said, “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.”