Friday, June 21, 2024

Global PC shipments continue downward spiral in Q1

Weak demand, excess inventory, and a worsening macroeconomic climate were all contributing factors for the precipitous drop in shipments of traditional PCs during the first quarter of 2023 (1Q23).

Global shipments numbered 56.9 million, marking a contraction of 29.0% compared to the same quarter in 2022, according to preliminary results from research firm IDC.

The preliminary results also represented a coda to the era of Covid-driven demand and at least a temporary return to pre-Covid patterns.

Shipment volume in 1Q23 was noticeably lower than the 59.2 million units shipped in 1Q19 and 60.6 million in 1Q18.

“Though channel inventory has depleted in the last few months, it’s still well above the healthy four to six week range,” said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC’s mobility and consumer device trackers.

“Even with heavy discounting, channels and PC makers can expect elevated inventory to persist into the middle of the year and potentially into the third quarter.”

The pause in growth and demand is also giving the supply chain some room to make changes as many factories begin to explore production options outside China.

Meanwhile, PC makers are also rejigging their plans for the remainder of the year and have begun to pull in orders for Chromebooks due to an expected increase in licensing costs later this year.

That said, PC shipments will likely suffer in the near term with a return to growth towards the end of the year with an expected improvement in the global economy and as the installed base begins to think about upgrading to Windows 11.

“By 2024, an aging installed base will start coming up for refresh,” said Linn Huang, research vice president for devices and displays at IDC.

“If the economy is trending upwards by then, we expect significant market upside as consumers look to refresh, schools seek to replace worn down Chromebooks, and businesses move to Windows 11. If recession in key markets drags on into next year, recovery could be a slog.”

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