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Global PC market shrank 16.2 percent last year

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22 February 2023

According to Gartner and IDC, 28% fewer PCs were sold worldwide during the final quarter of 2022, compared with the same period in 2021. Throughout 2022, 16.2% fewer computers were delivered. Analysts expect the market will recover late 2023 picking up further in 2024.

IDC reports that about 292.3 million PCs were delivered worldwide last year, including 67.2 million during the fourth quarter of 2022. Gartner puts it at 286.2 million units for all of 2022 and 65.3 million in the fourth quarter. As reported by a Gartner analyst, the drop in demand for PCs is mainly due to rising inflation, higher interest rates and fears of a global recession. Moreover, a considerable amount of consumers reportedly have purchased a computer during the pandemic.

IDC expects the market to contract by 43.5 million units year-over-year in 2022, and will not return to growth for another year. IDC states that unit shipments of PCs total 305.3 million units in 2022, down 12.8% from 348.8 million units in 2021. Tablet sales have dropped to 156.8 million units, or by 6.8% from the previous year. In total, shipments of personal computing devices (PCs and tablets, or PCDs) declined to 462.1 million units (-10.8%) in 2022 compared to 2021. Sales of PCDs will contract further by 2.3% in 2023, before rebounding in 2024. But while shipments of PCs and tablets are higher than they were in pre-pandemic years, they are not going to return to pre-pandemic peaks, even in 2025. IDC sees saturation of PCs in consumers’ hands, a weaking global economy, and inflation as primary causes for the reduced outlook.

Average selling prices for PCs fallen in recent months

Overall, consumers are slowing their PC and tablet spending (-9.9%), whereas the enterprise market continues to buy new hardware (-1.6%). But apparently, consumers are not leading the pack here, as small businesses have reduced their procurements by 10.5% in 2022 and the public sector (government agencies, schools) lowered its consumption of PCDs by a whopping 20.3%. According to IDC, average selling prices for PCs have begun to fall in recent months, as manufacturers sought to clear their inventories. The research firm states that price changes may also occur in the near future. PC demand might recover in 2024, while the first signs of recovery will be seen as early as the end of 2023. PC manufacturers with the largest global market share in 2022 were Lenovo, HP, Dell, Apple and ASUS. Lenovo achieved 24.1 percent market share in 2022, HP 19.4 percent, Dell 17.5 percent, Apple 9.8 percent and ASUS 7.2 percent.

Global PC market shrank in 2022
Consumers have slowed down their PC and tablet spending by almost 10% with the public sector leading the pack with a whopping 20.3%

Delayed purchases expected to boost in late 2023

With rising costs for energy and basic goods in key markets like the US and Europe, expenditure on big-ticket items like PCs has taken a back seat as consumers are prepared to delay refreshes. According to Canalys – an independent analyst company – notebooks underwent a larger decline, down by 30% to 51.4 million units in Q4 2022 and 19% to 223.8 million units for the full year. Desktops fared slightly better, undergoing a decline of 24% to 14.1 million units in Q4 and a drop of 7% to 61.3 million units across 2022.

Once businesses and consumers ride out the storm, Canalys expects delayed purchases to begin boosting the market in late 2023, with momentum picking up in 2024. This will be bolstered by an education demand bump in major markets as devices deployed during the pandemic peak reach the end of their life cycle. And even during the downturn, there will be areas that can deliver success for the industry, such as gaming, connected PCs and hybrid work, all of which were highlighted by announcements at CES 2023 last january.

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