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PC sales take double-digit tumble in Q2 amid economic downturn

PC market is resting, not dead despite Shanghai lockdown, fears of global recession

A combination of factors including lockdowns, geopolitical tensions and falling discretionary household spending trashed PC demand in calendar Q2, forcing the market to shrink by double digits.

According to preliminary estimates by the number crunchers at IDC, 71.3 million computers were sold into channels during the three months, equating to a 15.3 percent year-on-year decline.

The extent of the latest fall surprised IDC with the Shanghai-lockdown and pressure on global logistics operations blamed for part of the market contraction.

“Fears over a recession continue to mount and weaken demand across segments,” said Jitesh Urbani, IDC research manager for the Mobile Quarterly Tracker team.

“Consumer demand for PCs has weakened in the near term and is at risk of perishing in the long term as consumers become more cautious about their spending and once again grow accustomed to computing across device types such as phones and tablets.”

Signs of a slowdown first emerged in Q3 of last year when Chromebook shipments fell off a cliff due to market saturation in the US (which accounts for up to 70 percent of bloat sales) and tablets demand has since waned too.

“With education PC appetite saturating and consumer demand stagnating, the US PC market is staring at another quarter of double-digit decline across most segments, said Neha Mahajan, research manager with IDC’s Devices and Displays team.

The commercial PC sector was described by IDC as being “more robust” although it too is suffering at the hands of macro-economic worries, with businesses said to be holding off on signing purchase orders.

Mahajan added: “Commercial PC demand is also showing signs of a slowdown, however there are still pockets of growth expected in certain commercial sub-segments where demand for low-mid range Windows decides remains active and unfilled.”

In terms of the vendor line-up, all of the top five biggest sellers reported declines: Lenovo was down 12.1 percent to 17.5 million units; HP (more exposed to Chromebooks) was down 27.6 percent to 13.5 million; Dell shrank 5.3 percent to 13.2 million; Acer was down 19.2 percent to 5 million; and Apple slipped from fourth to fifth as shipments slid 22.5 percent to 4.8 million.

Reg readers may remember that Apple previously warned calendar Q2 was going to be tough due to the Shanghai lockdowns that started in April and lasted well into May. Apple itself warned the disruption could hurt sales by up to $8 billion in its Q3 of fiscal 2022.

IDC pointed out that Q2 2022 remains comparable to Q2 2020 when the pandemic was still in its infancy. And the latest quarterly trade was well above the 64.85 million IDC tracked in Q2 2019.

However, things are calming down and the double digit rises in recent years appear to be over for now. ®

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