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PC sales plummet: Apple fares worst with 40% fall

Inventory glut set to persist despite heavy discounting...

PC sales fell off a cliff in the first quarter of 2023 according to research house IDC – with Apple suffering a 40% plunge, Dell sales falling 31%, Asus and Lenovo both suffering 30% falls and HP a 24% decline in sales.

"Weak demand, excess inventory, and a worsening macroeconomic climate were all contributing factors for the precipitous drop in shipments of traditional PCs" research house IDC said in a new report.

(nb: "PCs" spans desktops, notebooks, and workstations but not tablets.)

The PC sales slump is partly a pull-back on the demand surge triggered by a rush to remote work early in the pandemic and the slowdown is “giving the supply chain some room to make changes as many factories begin to explore production options outside China” IDC noted, saying sales totalled 56.9 million.

That figure is down sharply even on pre-Covid figures for Q1, 2018 of 60.6 million and comes despite a supply glut forcing providers to cut costs in a bid to shift stock. Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC's Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers said in the April 9 report. "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."

Lenovo was the largest PC supplier in Q1 of 2023 (22.4% of market share) with 12.7 million shipments, followed by HP (12 million), Dell (9.5 million), Apple (4.1 million) and Asus (3.9 million) respectively.

“By 2024, an aging installed base will start coming up for refresh," said Linn Huang, research VP for devices and displays at IDC. "If the economy is trending upwards by then, we expect significant market upside as consumers look to refresh, schools seek to replace worn down Chromebooks, and businesses move to Windows 11” adding however that “if recession in key markets drags on into next year, recovery could be a slog."

Semiconductor sales are also down sharply early in 2023. Semiconductor sales for January 2023 (the most recent month tracked by the SIA industry association) showed an 18.5% fall on January 2022's figures.

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