Global PC shipments declined 13.4% year over year during the second quarter of 2023 (2Q23), according to preliminary results. This was the sixth consecutive quarter of contraction brought on by macroeconomic headwinds, weak demand from both the consumer and commercial sectors, and a shift in IT budgets away from device purchases. Despite the poor showing, the market performed better than forecast for the quarter.
The overall weak demand has caused inventory levels to remain above normal for longer than expected. This includes finished systems at the channel level, as well as the supply chain. So far, no PC maker has been immune to the challenges presented by the market. Except for Apple and HP Inc., all the leading companies experienced double-digit declines during the quarter. But Apple benefited from a favorable year-over-year comparison as the company suffered supply issues during 2Q22 due to COVID-related shutdowns within the supply chain. Meanwhile, HP has faced an oversupply of inventory in the past year and is finally approaching normalized levels of inventory, allowing its growth rate to shine during this downturn.
“Elevated channel and component inventory are once again dragging down the market,” said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC’s Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers. “And despite these issues slowly easing, many component suppliers continue to offer reduced pricing in an effort to clear their inventory though PC makers and channels are still cautious about new systems due to the reduced demand.”
“The roller coaster of supply and demand the PC industry has faced over the past five years has been extremely challenging,” said Ryan Reith, group vice president for IDC’s Client Device Trackers. “Companies don’t want to be caught with short supply like they were in 2020 and 2021, but at the same time, many seem hesitant to make the big bet on a market rebound. On the consumer side, we’re seeing a return to pre-pandemic habits where computing needs are shared across multiple devices, and we firmly believe the consumer wallet will favour smartphones over the PC. On the commercial side, workforce reductions (for many big companies) as well as the introduction of generative AI only add more confusion as to where to place an already reduced budget.”