The global PC market has experienced a decline in shipments, particularly after the surge in 2020 and 2021 when many transitioned to work-from-home setups. According to a report by the International Data Corporation (IDC), PC shipments are anticipated to decrease by 13.7% year over year in 2023, amounting to 252 million units.
Several factors have influenced this decline. Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers, mentioned, “Consumer demand remains tepid at best as the segment continues to face economic headwinds.” He further added that the demand for PCs faces competition from other devices such as smartphones, consoles, and tablets, making 2023 a year with a significant decline in consumer PC shipments.
Shifts in the PC Market
There have been notable shifts in the PC market. AMD now holds 11% of the market share, with Apple at 5%. The rise of generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) has led IT decision-makers to re-evaluate their budget priorities. Ryan Reith, group vice president with IDC's Worldwide Mobile and Consumer Device Trackers, stated, “These days it's hard to have a conversation that doesn't involve AI and where and how to invest.” He emphasized the importance of the upcoming end of support for Windows 10 in 2025 and its potential impact on commercial refreshes.
Not even Apple is immune despite its appeal as a high-end brand. In fact, in April I reported that Apple has been the worst hit manufacturer during the recent PC shipments decline. IDC reported at the time that Apple's Mac sales plunged 40.5% during Q1, 2023.
PC demand slowed down after a big increase in 2020 and early 2021, when the Covid-19 pandemic made millions of people stay at home for work and school. But as more people got vaccinated and lockdown rules relaxed, consumers spent their money on other things, like travel and entertainment. A global chip shortage also contributed to falling sales.
Plenty of Challenges but Also Hope
Despite the challenges, there's a silver lining. IDC forecasts a growth of 3.7% in PC shipments for 2024, translating to 261.4 million shipments. While this is still below the numbers from 2019, it surpasses the 2018 figures.
Fellow marketing analyst, Canalys, agrees with IDC in general. Earlier this year Canalys said PC shipments in Western Europe have reached the lowest point and will stay stable for the rest of 2023 before starting to recover in 2024. The report also points out some good trends in the PC market, such as the rise of gaming PCs, high-end devices and workstations, which bring more profits and customer loyalty.
But the firm says that a lot of the recovery will depend on businesses upgrading to Windows 11. It is not clear if the consumer market will bounce back, which is what Apple needs to change its own situation. However, this is Apple we are talking about, so there is a possibility that the company launches a new product that attracts attention and sells well.