PC Shipments Slump 29 Percent, Led By Apple

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Apple sees biggest slump in PC shipments along with HP, Lenovo, Dell and others as pandemic-era demand dissipates

PC sales worldwide fell by 29 percent in the first quarter of 2023, with Apple seeing the biggest decline, according to a new study from research firm IDC.

Shipments reached 56.9 million units for the quarter, down from 80.2 million in the same period a year earlier.

The quarter continued a similar year-on-year decline of 28.1 percent in the fourth quarter due to weak demand, high inventory levels and slumping economies, researchers said.

The drop took shipments below the levels of early 2019 following a massive surge in sales of home working equipment spurred by pandemic-era lockdowns.

Shipment slump

Apple’s PC sales declined by 40.5 percent, the biggest of the top five biggest PC makers, followed by Lenovo Group and Dell Technologies with drops of more than 30 percent.

Asustek Computer saw shipments fall by 30.3 percent, while HP was down 24.2 percent.

Following the huge surge in tech sales during the early period of the pandemic, a slowdown in consumer spending over the past year has seen double-digit declines in smartphone sales and a glut of memory chips.

Samsung Electronics said last week it was cutting memory production after reporting its lowest profits since the 2008 financial crisis, while Tesla has repeatedly cut prices to reduce its inventory of electric vehicles amidst slower sales.


IDC research manager Jitesh Ubrani said channel inventory had depleted in the past few months but was “still well above the healthy four to six week range”.

“Even with heavy discounting, channels and PC makers can expect elevated inventory to persist into the middle of the year and potentially into the third quarter.”

But lower demand is also giving manufacturers the space to make changes as “many factories begin to explore production options outside China”.

Apple is notably working on gradually diversifying the geography of its manufacturing base outside of China to areas including Vietnam and India amidst concerns about supply chain disruption following the pandemic and, more recently, escalating political tensions between the US and China.

Hardware replacement

Next year researchers said an improving economy could see new spending by consumers and schools and businesses upgrading to Windows 11, said IDC vice president for devices and displays Linn Huang.

However, “if recession in key markets drags on into next year, recovery could be a slog”, Huang said.