Global PC Shipments Decline By 100 Million Units

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PC market shipments declined by more than 100 million units over the past two years, hitting a 15-year low in 2023. Decreased consumer demand responsible. 

The PC market experienced a significant decline in the last two years, with shipments dropping by more than 100 million units during this period. The year 2023 marked a historic low point for the industry. Global PC shipments decreased from approximately 342 million units in 2021 to around 242 million units in 2023. 

With this decrease, for the first time in 15 years, global PC shipments have dropped below 250 million units. A report by Stocklytics says so, comparing the data from 2008 to 2023. It says the shipment volume in the last two fiscals experienced a significant decline primarily because of reduced consumer interest in PCs. 

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The report has also held global economic crisis characterised by rising inflation responsible for this downturn. This trend has sparked worries among manufacturers, suppliers, and analysts, prompting them to reconsider the future direction of the PC market.

PC sales in 2023 began declining early, with the first quarter experiencing a 29% drop compared to the same period in 2022. Global shipments fell to 56.9 million units, returning to pre-pandemic levels. Unfortunately, the sluggish sales pace in Q1 2023 persisted throughout the year.

There was a noticeable recovery in the third quarter, with approximately 68.5 million units shipped, although this represented a 7.2% decrease from the corresponding period in 2022. However, this resurgence in Q3 was insufficient to significantly reverse the downward trend, and the year ended with 242 million shipments.

Overall, shipments dropped by 15% compared to 2022, signaling a challenging period for the PC market.

The global PC market experienced a waning phase before; in the middle of the last decade. After the record breaking 365 million shipments in 2011, the numbers had gradually decreased. It became as low as 260 million in 2018 after the steep decline. Then, the industry saw a sudden rise in 2020 and 2021 before this dip. 

The decline has prompted industry players to reconsider their market strategies, with some exploring production options beyond its largest consumer market China. However, recovery may be sluggish in the coming years due to anticipated component price increases and geopolitical and economic uncertainties.

Despite the downturn, International Data Corporation (IDC) expects a strong comeback in 2024. The PC market saw a 1.5% increase from 2023, with about 59.8 million units sold in the first quarter of this year. This minimal improvement can be the beginning of a promising trend for the market, as the quarterly results were very close to those of the first quarter of 2019. 

The IDC predicts a significant 3.4% market growth in 2024 compared to 2023, driven by increasing pressure on consumers and businesses to switch to the Windows 11 operating system. Moreover, the rise of AI-enabled PC models is expected to boost demand, helping the market recover from the slowdown caused by the pandemic-induced surge in purchases.

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