Despite signs that a recovery could happen over the next year, the PC market is in a slump and is declining quarter on quarter. No company feels that contraction more than Apple. Cupertino has suffered its worst decline in Mac since the dotcom bust of 2000, according to a new report by IDC.
The market research says Apple saw its shipments drop by 40.5% in the first quarter of 2023, compared to the same period last year. Falling demand for PCs and supply chain issues are cited as the biggest causes of the decline.
The report shows that Apple was the hardest hit among the major PC brands, which all experienced double-digit declines in shipments. Lenovo, Dell, HP, and Asustek also saw their shipments fall by more than 30%, while the overall PC market contracted by 29% to 56.9 million units.
The slowdown in PC demand comes after a surge in 2020 and early 2021, when the Covid-19 pandemic forced millions of people to work and study from home. However, as vaccination rates increased and lockdown measures eased, consumers shifted their spending to other categories, such as travel and entertainment.
Moreover, the global chip shortage and rising inflation also dampened the appetite for new PCs. Apple faces specific challenges. Firstly, it launched the M1 Mac range in 2020, the first PCs running the company's proprietary CPU. M1 Mac demand was substantial, but that market has now cooled. Secondly, Apple is almost a consumer brand so cannot be propped up by enterprise shipments.
Western Europe Points to General PC Market Recovery
Earlier this month, market analyst Canalys forecast that PC shipments in Western Europe have bottomed out and will stabilize during the rest of 2023 before moving into recovery through 2024. The report also highlights some positive trends in the PC market, such as the growth of gaming PCs, premium devices and workstations, which offer higher margins and customer loyalty.
However, the firm says a lot of the recovery will come from businesses upgrading to Windows 11. It is unclear if the consumer market will rebound, which is what Apple needs to see its own fortunes change. Of course, because this is Apple there is a chance the company releases a new product that captures the imagination and becomes a big-selling device.
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