PC shipments are coming back to earth after two years of growth

man working on a laptop
(Image credit: Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash)

If you bought a new PC over the pandemic then you weren't alone. Sales rose massively, reviving an industry that was thought to have been surpassed by smartphones and tablets

But all good things must come to an end, as a report from IDC has claimed global PC sales are returning to pre-pandemic levels. 

In the first quarter of 2022, PC shipments – which includes desktops, notebooks, and workstations – declined by 5.1% over the previous year. Vendors shipped 80.5 million PCs, the seventh consecutive quarter where sales surpassed 80 million. 

PC decline?

While the decline is interesting, it's impressive and notable that the industry managed to shift so many PCs while experiencing unprecedented supply chain issues and shortages. 

"The focus shouldn't be on the year-over-year decline in PC volumes because that was to be expected. The focus should be on the PC industry managing to ship more than 80 million PCs at a time when logistics and supply chain are still a mess, accompanied by numerous geopolitical and pandemic-related challenges," said IDC's Ryan Reith.

"We have witnessed some slowdown in both the education and consumer markets, but all indicators show demand for commercial PCs remains very strong. We also believe that the consumer market will pick up again in the near future. The result of 1Q22 was PC shipment volumes that were near record levels for a first quarter."

Windows leads the way 

As you might expect, anyone making Windows PCs is having a pretty good time right now. 

IDC data shows that Lenovo was the top manufacturer at the start of this year, shipping 18.3 million units, down 9.2% from the start of 2021, for a 22.7% market share. 

HP and Dell followed Lenovo, shipping 15.8 million and 13.7 million PCs respectively, for a 19.7% and 17.1% market share. HP's sales declined by 17.8% while Dell was up 6.1%, which is impressive given the overall climate. 

Finally, sales of Mac desktops and laptops proved to be really strong during the pandemic, spurred on by Apple's reimagining of what is possible from a processor. 

In Q1, Apple shipped 7.2 million Macs, a 4.3% increase from its 6.9 million shipments in 2021. Apple netted an 8.9% market share. 

Bringing up the rear was Asus (5.5 million shipments), Acer (5.4 million), and everyone else (14.5 million). 

Max Slater-Robins has been writing about technology for nearly a decade at various outlets, covering the rise of the technology giants, trends in enterprise and SaaS companies, and much more besides. Originally from Suffolk, he currently lives in London and likes a good night out and walks in the countryside.