PC shipments are slowing, but they're not running out of steam

The first quarter of 2022 was the seventh consecutive quarter the PC industry shipped more than 80 million units.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

PC shipments declined 5.1% year on year in the first quarter of 2022 but the industry still shipped over 80 million PCs despite supply chain constraints, according to analyst firm IDC. 

Q1 2022 marks the end of two years of double-digit growth: last January, PC shipments had grown more in a single quarter than in the previous decade, as a result of the move to remote work and online learning.

This quarter, consumers and the education market slowed purchasing, but there were signs that commercial PC sales were strong, according to IDC. It reckons the slowdown was because of demand saturation and rising costs.  

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In total, vendors shipped about 80.5 million desktops, notebooks, and workstations in the quarter, down from 84.8 million in Q1 2021. But it was also the seventh consecutive quarter where global shipments exceeded 80 million, which hasn't happened since 2012.

"The focus shouldn't be on the year-over-year decline in PC volumes because that was to be expected. The focus should be on the PC industry managing to ship more than 80 million PCs at a time when logistics and supply chain are still a mess, accompanied by numerous geopolitical and pandemic-related challenges," said Ryan Reith, group vice president with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers.

Lenovo led the pack with shipments of 18.3 million units and a share of 22.7%, but shipments were down 9.2% on Q1 2021. HP's shipments were down 17.8% year on year to 15.8 million and giving it a share of 15.8%, while Dell's shipments grew 6.1% to 13.7 million giving it a share of 17.1%. 

Apple's shipments also grew 4.3% year on year to 7.2 million, leaving it with an 8.9% share. Asus shipments totaled 5.5 million, up 17.7% and giving it a 6.9% share, while Acer's shipments were down 5.9% to 5.4 million leaving it a 6.8% share. Other vendors outside of the top five made up 18% of all shipments.  

Despite lower sales, Lenovo in February reported $20 billion in revenue in Q3, of which $17.6 billion came from the company's PC, smartphone, and smart devices business. Meanwhile, Dell Technologies had a big Q4 with $27.9 billion in revenue, up 16% year on year. HP also reported strong growth in personal systems revenue for Q4 2021, with revenue of $11.8 billion, up 13% year on year. 

"Even as parts of the market slow due to demand saturation and rising costs, we still see some silver linings in a market that has reached an inflection point towards a slower pace of growth," said Jay Chou, a research manager for IDC. "Aside from commercial spending on PCs, there are still emerging markets where demand had been neglected in the earlier periods of the pandemic, and higher end consumer demand also has held up." 

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