PC shipments (desktops, notebooks and workstations) in the US declined just 6% year-on-year to 18.2 million units in Q2 2023, marking a significant improvement compared to earlier quarters this year. Notebook (including mobile workstations) shipments were down 4% to 15.2 million units, bolstered by the return of Chromebook demand in the education sector. Desktops (including desktop workstations) suffered a steeper decline, with shipments falling 12% to 3.0 million units. The US tablet market faced a similarly modest decline, with shipments down 5% to 10.3 million units.
“Despite undergoing another year-on-year decline, the US PC market showed promising signs of improvement in the second quarter,” said Ishan Dutt, Principal Analyst at Canalys. “With the buildup of channel inventories now largely cleared, pockets of demand strength are now being reflected in vendors’ sell-in shipment performance. A key area that helped drive volumes was the return of demand from education institutions, backed by the latest wave of federal funding, ahead of a licensing cost increase for ChromeOS. This helped propel Chromebook shipments to 4.7 million units, the highest level since peak deployments during the first half of 2021.”
PC shipments to the commercial sector were down just 4%, while the consumer sector posted a larger drop of 10%. “Consumers are still deprioritizing spending on PCs compared to other goods and services amid economic challenges,” added Dutt. “Recovery in this segment is likely to only emerge in Q4, with strong discounting expected during an extended period of holiday season promotions. Businesses, however, are displaying more resilient demand for PCs. Dell, the leading commercial vendor in the US, has highlighted its home market as a particular area of strength.”
Although businesses and consumers are likely to exhibit some caution in spending on PCs in the short term, the industry can now look forward to further improvement in the US. Canalys expects an even smaller shipment decline of 4% in Q3 2023 before the market bounces back to 12% growth in Q4. Beyond that, the market is forecasted to grow 9% in 2024 and 12% in 2025.
“The long-term outlook for PCs in the US remains positive,” said Dutt. “As macroeconomic pressures subside, the strong fundamentals around post-pandemic PC usage behavior and the larger installed base across all segments will be a boon to the industry. From an innovation perspective, the expected demand boost from the transition away from Windows 10 is now set to be bolstered by the emergence of AI-capable PCs. While this new device category may not significantly increase shipment volumes, it will create strong revenue opportunities for both vendors and the channel as adoption becomes more widespread, particularly within businesses.”