PC sales fall for the fourth consecutive quarter in the fourth quarter as demand remains subdued
When you look at Q4 global PC sales data from Canalys, IDC and Gartner, it’s fair to say the news wasn’t good, with all three companies posting precipitous declines from 2021 highs.
In fact, the numbers fell for the fourth consecutive quarter, with sales down 28% according to IDC, 28.5% according to Gartner and 29% according to Canalys. These numbers include laptops and desktops running Windows, macOS, or Chrome operating systems.
The annual totals told a similar story, with all three companies showing a year-over-year decline of around -16%. But IDC analyst Ryan Reith pointed out that it might not be as bleak as those numbers suggest, as it comes out of a stellar 2021.
In a statement, Reith said: “2021 was near historic levels for PC shipments, so any comparison is going to be skewed. There’s no doubt when we look back to that time that the rise and fall of the PC market will be among the records, but many opportunities still await us.
In terms of units shipped for the fourth quarter, Gartner reported 65.3 million units with Canalys at 65.4 million units and IDC at 67.2 million units.
There were no real winners in the fourth quarter without any builders in positive territory. The best you could hope for was minimal losses, and in most cases all three companies reported double-digit losses across the board.
Apple had the least red ink of the three reports, with Gartner reporting -10.1%, Canalys reporting a -7.5% growth rate over last year, with IDC at a more modest rate of -2.1%. The news only got worse from there.
Of the three major PC makers, Dell was the biggest loser in all three reports, with all three reporting a loss of around 37%. After that it was HP with -29% and Lenovo with around -28%. These are big drops, for whatever reason.
The fourth-quarter numbers are particularly troublesome because the holidays usually represent a time when sales spike, and manufacturers have tried hard to boost sales with price cuts, but to no avail. Gartner reported that this was the biggest drop they’ve seen in a quarter since it started tracking these numbers in the mid-1990s.
What does all this mean for the year ahead? In general, despite the uncertain economic outlook, analysts are cautiously optimistic that we will start to see a recovery later this year, or early 2024 at the latest.
“Once businesses and consumers weather the storm, we expect deferred purchases to begin driving the market in late 2023, with a recovery in 2024,” Canalys analyst Ishan Dutt said in a statement. .
This is also in line with IDC’s thinking, which forecasts a rebound in 2024 with some pockets of recovery over the coming year, while Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa predicts the malaise could continue until further notice. at the beginning of 2024.
Although the market has taken a hit this year, it is important to understand these numbers in context, and it appears that despite the precipitous year-on-year percentage drops, compared to pre-lockdown numbers in 2020 , the outlook is somewhat more positive.