When demand for PCs began to skyrocket in early 2020 due to work/learn/entertain from home trends, PC brands and Taiwanese motherboard makers made a lot of money. When the crypto mining boom kicked off in H2 2020, they thrived. But by now, demand for client PCs has gotten softer, whereas the crypto mining craze to a large degree ended, which is why many Taiwanese companies are reviewing their prospects for 2022.
Sales of best motherboards from companies like Asus, ASRock, Gigabyte, and MSI will drop by 20% – 30% year-over-year, reports DigiTimes (opens in new tab). So far, Asus and Gigabyte have reduced their projected motherboard shipments from 18 million and 9 million units (respectively) to 14 million and 9 million units (respectively). Other makers are also reducing their projections and have to deal with high inventory levels.
Most DIY gaming PCs (and a considerable portion of boutique PCs) use motherboards and graphics cards supplied by Taiwanese manufacturers, such as Asustek, ASRock, Gigabyte, MSI, Leadtek, and PowerColor (Tul Corp.). These companies are among the biggest beneficiaries of gaming PC market growth and the crypto mining craze, so they pinned many hopes for 2022. But slowing demand for consumer PCs will reduce unit shipments to 321.1 million units in 2022, or by 8.2% compared to the previous year (according to IDC), making them revise their forecasts.
Motherboards Shipments Forecasts, According to DigiTimes
|2022 Initial Projection||2022 Revised Projection||2021 Shipments||2019 Shipments|
|Asus||18+ million||14 million||18+ million||16.4 million|
|Gigabyte||?||9 million||13 million||?|
Big PC brands like Dell, HP, or Lenovo expect to suffer from dropping demand for client computers and hardware. But Taiwanese companies that supply premium motherboards and graphics cards will suffer considerably more. These firms benefited from extremely high prices of graphics cards and significantly raised prices of premium mainboards used by gamers. Now that demand is going to drop because of high inflation rates, geopolitical uncertainties, and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, their relative sales drop will be highly significant.
Last week we noted that Apple, AMD, and Nvidia were reducing orders to TSMC ahead of looming product launches. We also pointed out that some financial analysts cut their targets for AMD's client unit shipments. So the information from DigiTimes does not come as a surprise.
On the data center/server side of matters, companies like AMD, Intel, and Nvidia will continue to benefit from solid demand for their products as spending on infrastructure due to ongoing 5G, AI, and HPC megatrends will continue to be strong for quarters or even years ahead. Likewise, ASRock and Gigabyte, which supply various data center products, will continue to thrive.
But when it comes to client PC hardware, brace for impact as the decline will likely get severe.