Apple and Dell shipments grow but overall PC market shrinks

Supply constraints and a saturated market are hitting sales.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Apple and Dell were the only two major PC vendors whose global shipments increased in the first quarter (Q1) of 2022 as shipments from the wider PC industry fell 4.3% compared to Q1 2021. 

For many vendors, the two-year stretch of consecutive growth in PC shipments is well and truly over. Research firm Counterpoint is the latest to confirm the trend following Apple's Thursday Q2 FY2022 earnings, a quarter in which Mac sales rose 14.3% year on year. 

Counterpoint estimates Apple's Mac shipments grew 8% year on year in Q1 2022 to 7.1 million units. Dell shipments grew 1% over the period to 13.8 million. HP saw shipments slipping 16% to 15.9 million units, while Lenovo's shipments fell 9.5% to 18.2 million units. Overall, Counterpoint estimates global PC shipments were down 4.3% year on year, totaling 78.7 million units. 

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Lenovo was still the market leader, followed by HP, Dell, and Apple. Apple sales were boosted by the success of its M1 Macs.

IDC earlier this month estimated PC shipments declined 5.1% year on year in Q1 2022 to 80.5 million units. The main cause of the decline was supply constraints and silicon shortages, but also softer demand from consumers and a saturated education market, while purchasing from businesses remained strong, according to IDC.

Microsoft reported Q3 FY2022 Windows OEM revenue was up 11% year on year, but it's predicting it to grow in the low to middle-single digits next quarter, although it insists that Windows PCs have never been more relevant.

Counterpoint researcher William Li reckons component shortages will ease in the second half of 2022. 

"Entering 2022, the PC supply chain experienced easing component shortages and logistics issues compared to the second half of 2021. Order backlog from 2021 continued to contribute substantially to PC shipments in the beginning of 2022. This supports our previous view of another PC shipment plateau in 2022," said Li. 

"Our checks suggest the PC supply chain turned relatively conservative on shipment outlook in the middle of Q1 2022, largely dragged by global inflation and regional conflict, which brought uncertainties to PC demand and blurred the overall PC shipment momentum ahead. The overall PC shipments in 2022 are expected to be shy of our forecasts made at the end of 2021."

Apple reported Q2 FY2022 Mac sales of $10.4 billion, up 14.7% year over year. 

Though supply constraints may be easing, Apple CEO Tim Cook warned of a $4bn to $8bn drain on sales next quarter due to supply constraints. However, he also said supply constraints in Q2 were less severe than in the December 2021 quarter. 

"Looking ahead we see two sources of supply constraints. One is the COVID-related service disruptions, and there's the industry-wide silicon shortages that will continue," he said.

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