PC sales are falling. What does that mean for the price of your new computer?

Prices of PCs have been trending upwards recently; that could be changing.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer
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Cooling demand plus supply chain problems meant PC shipments declined 15% year on year in the third quarter (Q3) of 2022, totaling 74.2 million units, according to IDC's preliminary count in its worldwide personal computing device tracker.   

Shipments by Lenovo, HP, Dell and Asus were all down for the quarter. Apple's share of the PC market, which includes desktops, notebooks and workstations, is now 13.5%, up from 8.2% in the same quarter a year ago, leaving Apple as the only vendor with growing shipments – up 40% on the same time last year.

In a nutshell, high-end PCs are selling well as consumer and education sales have slowed. Shipments of cheaper PCs have continued falling since 2021, amid inflation fears and the industry's supply chain woes, with vendors manufacturing fewer Chromebooks as they pursue profits in higher-end Windows PCs. 

Gartner reported Q2 2022 worldwide PC shipments declined 12.6% year on year. Apple was the only vendor with higher shipments over the period. Gartner estimates Apple had a worldwide market share of 8.8% in Q2 2022 and a US market share of 15.3%.

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Gartner noted that to maintain profits as inflation leads to increased costs, the PC industry wants to raise average selling prices (ASPs) despite weakening demand. The reduction in the mix of PCs from Chromebooks, which tend to have low price points, and the shift to premium products also helped increase the average ASP – but an increase in inventory, especially in the consumer channel, could cause an ASP decline as vendors try to lower inventory.

Linn Huang, research vice president of devices and displays at IDC, said that, in addition to shipment volumes, analysts will be keeping a close eye on how ASPs trend this quarter.

"Shortages over the last several years have aggressively driven product mix shifts towards the premium end. This, coupled with cost increases of components and logistics, drove ASPs up five quarters in a row to $910 in 1Q22, the highest since 2004. However, with demand slowing, promotions in full swing, and orders being cut, the ASP climb was reversed in 2Q22. Another quarter of ASP declines indicates a market in retreat." 

Lenovo is still the top vendor by shipments, with a 22.7% share based on 16.9 million units, down 16.1% year on year. HP is is in second place with a 17.1% share on the back of 12.7 million units, down by 27.8% year on year. 

Dell, whose focus on higher-end business PCs helped maintain growth in recent quarters, has a 16.1% share but was down 21.2% year on year. Asus, with a 7.5% share, shipped 5.5 million units. 

Apple shipped 10 million Macs in Q3, marking 40.2% year-on-year growth and leaving it with a 13.5% share of worldwide PC shipments. Apple released its first M1 non-intel Apple silicon chip for Macs and some iPads in 2020, helping revive its MacBook Air and Mac Mini while bringing improved battery life to its MacBook Pro line-up. In June, it refreshed its MacBook Air and Pro with the M2 chip. Apple is tipped to be releasing a new M2-based iPad Pro as well as M2 updates for the Mac mini, Mac Pro and MacBook Pro

Apple in January reported it had an installed base of 1.8 billion devices worldwide, consisting of the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. 

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