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US PC market facing successive quarters of double-digit decline

Global PC shipments fell 15.3% during Q2 as post-lockdown demand for devices continues to wane

Desktop pcs

The US PC market is expected to see a second successive quarter of shipment decline, according to the latest preliminary data from IDC.

During Q2, global shipments of traditional PCs fell by more than expected, dropping 15.3% year-over-year to 71.3 million units in Q2.

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Analysts say the effect of China’s COVID-19 lockdowns on supply and logistics is a key factor behind the data, alongside “persistent macroeconomic headwinds.”

"Fears over a recession continue to mount and weaken demand across segments," explained Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC's Mobile Device trackers.

"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.

“Meanwhile, commercial demand has been more robust although it has also declined as businesses delay purchases."

However, PC shipment volume is still comparable to the beginning of the pandemic. Back then, units hit 74.3 million in Q2 2020 as the world scrambled to buy devices for remote working and learning. The market also continues to out-perform pre-pandemic levels, which clocked in at 62.1 million and 65.1 million in Q2 of 2018 and 2019 respectively.

Neha Mahajan, research manager for IDC's Devices and Displays team, said consumer demand has stagnated in a post-lockdown landscape.

"With education PC appetite saturating and consumer demand stagnating, the U.S. PC market is staring at another quarter of double-digit decline across most segments," she explained.

"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 devices remains active and unfilled."

In terms of individual manufacturers, HP and Apple were hit the hardest with 27.6% and 22.5% declines. Dell (5.3%) and ASUS (4.6%) were the only manufacturers to limit the drop to single digits.

IDC's report was backed by similar research released by Gartner which states that worldwide PC shipments declined 12.6% in the second quarter compared to the same period of 2021.This was described as the sharpest decline seen in the PC market for nine years and has been jointly attributed to the political instability of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and ongoing economic and supply chain issues.

However, in Gartner's report, Apple was the only vendor to see any growth in the second quarter, shipping 6,365 units with many of those being its M1-powered Macbooks. However, the company was still behind the likes of Lenovo, HP and Dell, despite all three experiencing significant declines. 

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