Skip to main content

AMD Desktop PC Market Share Update

AMD's latest processors have brought the fight to Intel across nearly every segment of the PC market. It isn't surprising then that recent reports have become increasingly bullish about AMD's prospects, especially as Intel struggles with an ongoing shortage of 14nm processors. We got our hands on some market data that outlines how much progress AMD has made and also found some interesting comments in an IDC report.

The recent analyst predictions about AMD's growth span from reasonable expectations to incredibly optimistic reports that push the boundaries of the rational. A report from DigiTimes last week citing "industry sources" and claiming AMD could gain up to 30 percent of the market share by the fourth quarter of 2018 falls into the latter category. The report says the gains will come on the back of AMD's as-yet-unreleased 7nm processors, but there's reason to be skeptical: AMD is still pumping 14nm and 12nm Ryzen products from GlobalFoundries’ fabs, while 7nm CPUs won't arrive in volume from TSMC's fabs until next year.

We've been keeping tabs on AMD's desktop unit share using market research data from Mercury Research, a trusted firm in the semiconductor industry. The numbers below reflect AMD's share of the overall desktop unit share and exclude IoT sales.

3Q164Q161Q172Q173Q174Q171Q182Q18
AMD Desktop Unit Share9.1%9.9%11.4%11.1%10.9%12.0%12.2%12.3%

According to Mercury Research, AMD's share has grown to 12.3 percent in 2Q18. That means that Intel owns 87.7 percent of the desktop PC share. Much of AMD's recent growth has been in its average selling price as the company's customers refresh older processors with newer, more expensive models. That's important to improve profitability. This year, AMD has also turned its attention to gaining more share of the lucrative OEM platforms that comprise the largest portion of the desktop market.

We won't have desktop market share numbers for Q3 for another month, but we spoke with Mercury Research's Dean McCarron about AMD's chances of attaining 30 percent of the market by the end of Q4. McCarron cautioned that he doesn't forecast future market share, but he did provide some interesting perspective:

"[...] for a 30 percent AMD desktop share to happen in Q4, AMD's volumes would need to either be 250 percent higher in the quarter than they were last year, or Intel's shipments would need to decline 65 percent, or some combination of the two. Since 2000, the largest on-year decline Intel has experienced for any quarter was -24 percent, and the largest on-year increase AMD has experienced was +57 percent. If somehow moves at these historic extremes simultaneously happened in Q4, AMD's share would fall in the low 20 percent range, well short of 30 percent. Should a 30 percent AMD share materialize next quarter, it would be an unprecedented statistical outlier within the history of the processor market and carry with it far-reaching consequences."

McCarron's statements are telling. In order to reach 30 percent share, either AMD would have to more than triple its year-on-year volume, or Intel shipments would have to decline 65 percent in a very short amount of time.

But the market is fluid. According to Intel, its shortage of 14nm processors comes courtesy of record demand, but the general consensus is that the 10nm delay has wreaked havoc on Intel's production scheduling. In either case, Intel is selling every piece of silicon it spins in its fabs. That makes it unlikely that the company would lose such a large amount of share in a short amount of time, even after accounting for the first growth we've seen in the desktop PC market since 2011.

It's natural to expect AMD to pick up some sales from Intel's production missteps, though, particularly as the companies face off during the yearly holiday battle. However, a report from industry soothsayer IDC last week says that AMD hasn't materially gained from Intel's production challenges, at least not yet:

"IDC believes that Intel's main PC processor competitor, AMD, has not been significantly affected by the shortage of Intel processors. AMD is ramping its second-generation Ryzen desktop PC processors, but IDC hasn't yet seen sign of a massive upswing in AMD processor shipments due to PC OEMs looking for PC processor supply."

The report cites several factors, such as Intel's massive modem win for the iPhone lineup and record demand, as catalysts for Intel's production shortfall, but says that OEMs aren't having issues securing Core i3, i5 and i7 models for PCs. But lower-end Pentium, Celeron and Atom-branded processors are in short supply for OEMs as Intel focuses on producing the higher-margin Xeon and mainstream desktop processors. 

OEMs can source high-end Core models, but we've tracked a steady increase in pricing over the last several weeks in the retail market and scarce availability of Intel's premium K-series models, particularly in foreign markets. That makes it likely that AMD will enjoy some success against Intel in the DIY market during the 14nm shortage.

It's natural to expect AMD's growth rate to accelerate if it can roll out 7nm CPUs for the desktop before Intel can release 10nm products. AMD has also brought a new lineup of low-cost Athlon processors with integrated graphics to market, which is a key to securing more OEM orders in the high-volume budget PC space.

For now, industry watchers haven't seen a massive uptick in AMD's share in relation to Intel's shortages, and we've yet to see AMD's pricing increase, but that could change quickly as we move into the holiday season. AMD had a bang-up holiday season last year, and we expect it will have similar, if not better, success this year as Intel suffers from high pricing and scarce availability. We'll have the numbers for AMD's Q3 share in a month, but we'll have to wait until the beginning of next year to see how the holiday season pans out.

  • redgarl
    Please, just stop this nonsense... we are not talking about share since Intel has 5-6 generations of userbase, we are talking about % of sales for the quarter... and from some reports, Intel is having huge supply issues... just huge.

    https://hothardware.com/ContentImages/NewsItem/45833/content/big_mindfactory_2.png.ashx?maxwidth=1170&maxheight=1170
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    21377060 said:
    Please, just stop this nonsense... we are not talking about share since Intel has 5-6 generations of userbase, we are talking about % of sales for the quarter... and from some reports, Intel is having huge supply issues... just huge.

    https://hothardware.com/ContentImages/NewsItem/45833/content/big_mindfactory_2.png.ashx?maxwidth=1170&maxheight=1170

    You are comparing a sites sales numbers vs a place that watches market share. They are not one in the same as what your site has sales wise may not be the same across the board or in every country.
    Reply
  • tc83
    I believe your analysis misconstrues McCarron's quote. He is saying that to reach 30% requires AMD +250% or Intel -65%. To reach the low 20's, AMD must meet a historical high of +57% and Intel must meet their historical low of -24%.
    So "AMD would have to more than triple its year-on-year volume, or Intel shipments would have to decline 65 percent in a very short amount of time." to in fact reach 30% market share, not the 20% you summarize.
    Reply
  • redgarl
    21377278 said:
    21377060 said:
    Please, just stop this nonsense... we are not talking about share since Intel has 5-6 generations of userbase, we are talking about % of sales for the quarter... and from some reports, Intel is having huge supply issues... just huge.

    https://hothardware.com/ContentImages/NewsItem/45833/content/big_mindfactory_2.png.ashx?maxwidth=1170&maxheight=1170

    You are comparing a sites sales numbers vs a place that watches market share. They are not one in the same as what your site has sales wise may not be the same across the board or in every country.

    The trend is undenying. Major OEM are even pushing more AMD products out of the doors because they know if they don't they will lose sales in the enxt 6-12 months.

    Many analysts are saying the exact contrary than what Toms is publishing. The numbers doesn't align and especially that 12% or that 250%.
    Reply
  • PaulAlcorn
    21377314 said:
    I believe your analysis misconstrues McCarron's quote. He is saying that to reach 30% requires AMD +250% or Intel -65%. To reach the low 20's, AMD must meet a historical high of +57% and Intel must meet their historical low of -24%.
    So "AMD would have to more than triple its year-on-year volume, or Intel shipments would have to decline 65 percent in a very short amount of time." to in fact reach 30% market share, not the 20% you summarize.

    Oops, thanks, fixed!
    Reply
  • Johnpombrio
    With everyone waiting for Intel's latest 8 core processors to come out (including myself), I expect that AMD will continue to gain market share. The real question "Is AMD making profits on the gain in sales?" was answered by AMD's Q2 2108 financials when their Compute and Graphics Division lost 2.6% of sales revenue from the Q1 2018 quarter.
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    21377328 said:
    21377278 said:
    21377060 said:
    Please, just stop this nonsense... we are not talking about share since Intel has 5-6 generations of userbase, we are talking about % of sales for the quarter... and from some reports, Intel is having huge supply issues... just huge.

    https://hothardware.com/ContentImages/NewsItem/45833/content/big_mindfactory_2.png.ashx?maxwidth=1170&maxheight=1170

    You are comparing a sites sales numbers vs a place that watches market share. They are not one in the same as what your site has sales wise may not be the same across the board or in every country.

    The trend is undenying. Major OEM are even pushing more AMD products out of the doors because they know if they don't they will lose sales in the enxt 6-12 months.

    Many analysts are saying the exact contrary than what Toms is publishing. The numbers doesn't align and especially that 12% or that 250%.

    Still sales for a sinlge site do not equate to actual market share. There are still vastly more Intel systems in place that are being used than AMD. In fact the majority of say business systems are Intel still.

    Current sales will slowly tip the scale but less than two years will not undo the paltry sales AMD had starting in 2006 till 2017 when Ryzen launched. It will probably take another year or so to make a massive change over in market share.

    It would also mean Intel would have to fail big and I mean big on supplies to make that much of a change in a short period of time. I can't say for sure but I doubt Intel would drop supply long enough to allow such a drastic change.

    Just to make it easier imagine if for the past 5 years Intel had 90% of the consumer market and AMD had 10% and every 5 years the oldest year is "retired". Then this year it was 50/50. That doesn't mean AMD now has 50% market share it means AMD has 50% of the desktop sales for that year but if you take a 5 year scope now with the 50% sales number then the market share would be 82% for Intel, 18% for AMD. If they kept a consisent 50/50 then every year it would drop so by the second year it would be 74/26, year 3 it would be 66/34, year 4 it would be 58/42 and finally 5 years later would be 50/50.

    Of course that is a very basic example as some people hold onto systems for 10 years, some for 1 year etc.

    We can say for sure that AMD has made more sales this year than in the previous 10 years and that's good. It will compel Intel to push harder and hopefully make a better market for us all. However the market share will still slowly change over the next few years.
    Reply
  • Jim90
    Irrespective, competition is good for the consumer's pocket and innovation is driven much, much more quickly.
    Please...keep up the good work AMD!
    Reply
  • s1mon7
    Interesting. Nice to see. We are enthusiasts, so we replace our computers/motherboards every few years. Considering that most people don't, especially outside of the developed countries, the increase is significant. 3% share of all computer owners gained within 1.5 years means a LOT of Ryzen CPUs sold.

    I have no idea where the "30% by the end of the year" value was taken from. I don't think it's achievable within the next 5 YEARS unless AMD somehow manages to absolutely revolutionize the market with some triple-digit IPC gains. There is no way every fourth computer owner on earth replaces their perfectly fine Intel computer with a Ryzen computer, and that assumes no AMD users switch to Intel too, by the end of the year. That is an absurd concept.

    An AVERAGE life cycle of a computer is ~7 years at the moment. If every Intel computer on earth was to be replaced by an AMD computer, it would still take AMD years to reach 30% market share. Also, to see the problem from another perspective, the world's fab capacity would be insufficient to together manufacture enough chips to suddenly sell numbers of chips equal to 20% of the world's current supply within 3 months.
    Reply
  • jkubinak1339
    Just a summary that might put things in perspective - Ryzen could get 30% in the DIY consumer market by EOY but that is a very small number in terms of unit sales. All of their other sales rely on an OEM design whether its desktop or laptop or server. On the server and laptop business AMD went through long evaluation periods because they were basically not competing there in recent years. So as was mentioned in one of paul's articles, most of the growth in AMD is due to price so far. Unit sales are starting to ramp for server and laptop and the design wins are popping up so the unit growth is incoming. @stockolicious
    Reply