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Why PC sales are tanking this year

Peter Griffin, Editor. 01 November 2022, 10:15 am

After nearly three solid decades of growth, global sales of personal computers have fallen off a cliff this year.

Research group IDC found that PC shipments fell 15% in the three months to March 31 to 74.3 million worldwide, compared to the previous year, which followed a 15.3% decline in the second quarter. Rival analyst group Gartner had a third-quarter decline of 19.5%.

Now data assembled by Statista has estimated the overall declines for 2022 - global PC sales revenue is expected to drop by US$8.8 billion in 2022, with the biggest hit taken in the laptop space, which generated US$120.9 billion in global sales last year, but is expected to drop 4% this year.

That’s despite the availability of Windows 11. A new Windows operating system usually gives PC makers a decent bump in sales, but larger forces are working against the industry this year. 

Desktop PC sales are also expected to be down 4% for the year, while tablet sales will drop 4.2%.

Screenshot 2022-11-01 at 9.07.05 AM.png

Source: Statista

There are three obvious reasons to explain the decline - lingering supply chain issues in China and the tail-off from the huge bump in PC sales during the pandemic as millions of remote workers upgraded their hardware to stay productive at home. Then there’s the bite of inflation into spending power which is seeing consumers and businesses alike putting off PC upgrades.

The war in Ukraine has slowed sales to the country as well as Russia and Belarus which are subject to trade sanctions.

Analyst groups see the biggest market dip in the US, where the usual back-to-school flurry of device buying following the summer holidays hasn't eventuated this year, despite heavy promotion from PC makers.

So does the sluggish market mean its a good time to buy a PC? That may well be the case, judging by the large discounts on offer from retailers. The looming Black Friday sales are likely to be used by PC makers as an opportunity to clear out inventory.

When it comes to PC makers, Lenovo, followed by HP and Dell are the three biggest players by market share. Fourth-placed Apple actually bucked the trend in the third quarter and has grown its market share.




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