PC market slumps in 'steepest decline in 20 years'

woman reading on computer
(Image credit: Pixabay)

Worldwide PC shipments have experienced the steepest decline since analyst firm Gartner began tracking the market in the mid-1990s.

PC shipments totaled 68 million units in the third quarter of 2022, a 19.5% decrease from the third quarter of 2021, according to the analyst's statistics. 

Sales have been declining for a while now; this represents the fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year decline globally.

Why the drop?

Mikako Kitagawa, Director Analyst at Gartner, attributed the drop “to a lack of need as many consumers had purchased new PCs in the last two years”.

She also said that on “the business side, geopolitical and economic uncertainties led to more selective IT spending, and PCs were not at the top of the priority list".

The EMEA PC market decreased 26.4% year-over-year in the third quarter, reaching 17 million units – the steepest decline among all regions. This is the third negative quarter for the EMEA PC market following a boom at the start of the pandemic, according to Gartner.

“Multiple factors led to significant deterioration in the EMEA PC market, including challenging macroeconomic conditions, declining business and consumer demand and high levels of inventory,” said Kitagawa.

“Additionally, many PC vendors in the first two quarters of this year, which negatively impacted overall shipments shuttered operations in Russia  is particularly visible across year-to-year comparisons.”

The US PC market declined 17.3% in the third quarter of 2022, the fifth consecutive quarter of year-over-year shipment decline.

Slowed laptop sales drove the overall US market down, but the desktop market showed modest growth driven by pent-up demand among businesses as well as public sector purchases.

Kitagawa highlighted inflation as the biggest concern in the US market, but said “smaller businesses are showing relative optimism about macroeconomic conditions”.

The PC sales slump doesn't seem to have impacted manufacturers equally. Gartner found Acer’s sales suffered the worst decline out of any of the manufacturers, falling 23.7% between year-on-year.

This was followed by Lenovo and HP, whose sales dropped 22.8% and 23.3%, respectively.

Apple’s sales held up by far the best out of any of the manufacturers, dropping just 5.8%.

Will McCurdy has been writing about technology for over five years. He has a wide range of specialities including cybersecurity, fintech, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, cloud computing, payments, artificial intelligence, retail technology, and venture capital investment. He has previously written for AltFi, FStech, Retail Systems, and National Technology News and is an experienced podcast and webinar host, as well as an avid long-form feature writer.