Global PC shipments have dipped for the first time in years. Desktops and laptops enjoyed strong demand over the pandemic, with their broad potential for work, play and entertainment outshining rival platforms like consoles, tablets and smartphones. Now, as the world shuffles back to work in the "new normal", IDC reports that PC shipments dipped by 5.1% in Q1 2022. The market researchers aren't full of doom and gloom though, and see the potential for a recovery in momentum in the consumer and emerging market segments in the coming quarters.
The dip of 5.1% in Q1 2022 was worse than had been expected, comments IDC. However, it comes after two full years of superlative growth, and might be considered as to be the market pausing for breath rather than having hit a plateau or starting a decline. "The PC market is coming off two years of double-digit growth, so while the first quarter decline is a change in this momentum, it doesn't mean the industry is in a downward spiral," wrote IDC.
Another way to put Q1 in a brighter light is to look at the actual numbers of PCs shipped. IDC says that 80.5 million PCs shipped in Q1. This is a historically excellent figure. It is the seventh consecutive quarter of more than 80 million PCs shipped. Something that hasn't happened since 2012.
One must also not forget the state of the supply chain over the pandemic. With this in mind, one might consider maintaining more than 80 million PCs shipped per quarter, over an extended period a remarkable achievement.
Breaking down the figures and trends to try and see some deeper meaning, IDC commented that education and consumer PC sales slowed, but commercial sales remained strong. Moreover, the market researcher thinks that the consumer segment still has legs. We tend to agree, with great recent updates from CPU makers, and GPUs getting affordable again, we could see a lot more desktop and laptop PCs sold going through 2022, as people tire from holding off upgrading.
Overall, instead of expecting the double digit gains of the pandemic to change direction into a downturn, we should perhaps just see an inflection point followed by a more modest pace of growth.
Apple, Asus, and Dell Still Enjoyed Growth Year on Year
It is interesting to check out how the big names in pre-build PCs and laptops fared over the most recent quarter / year. IDC comments that the top five remain the same, but we can see some big movements in growth over the year.
Asus did particularly well, but Dell and Apple also gained from Q1 2021 to 2022. One wonders whether Asus' grip on its supply chain and logistics were of particular benefit to its business, or whether it enjoyed strong growth off the back of its designs and pricing? You might ask the same questions of Dell and Apple, who were the only other companies to enjoy growth over the year.