PC shipments around the world were hit by their worst slump in the past nine years, research firm Gartner said on Monday. For the second quarter of 2022, global shipments fell to 72 million, a decline of 12.6% compared with the same quarter in 2021. Gartner blamed the downturn on economic, supply chain and geopolitical challenges that affected all the major regions across the globe.
“The decline we saw in the first quarter of 2022 has accelerated in the second quarter, driven by the ongoing geopolitical instability caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, inflationary pressure on spending and a steep downturn in demand for Chromebooks,” said Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner. “Supply chain disruptions also continued, but the major cause of PC delivery delays changed from component shortages to logistics disruptions.”
The supply chain issues forced enterprise customers to wait longer than usual to receive PC shipments, according to Kitagawa. However, these delays started to improve by the end of the second quarter as key cities in China opened up following pandemic lockdowns.
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Inflation has also impacted the PC market. As inflation has surged, the industry has boosted average selling prices even in the face of weaker demand, Kitagawa explained. At the same time, Chromebook demand has plummeted, prompting PC vendors to shift toward more premium products, a move that also led to an increase in average selling prices.
For the quarter, five of the top six PC vendors were hit by shipment slumps. First place Lenovo saw its shipments fall by 12.5% to 17.8 million. In second place, HP suffered the worst drop of the six with a decline of 27.5% to 13.5 million.
Though Lenovo’s overall shipments fell for the third consecutive quarter, the company saw a 2% gain in the desktop PC market, helped in part by its supply chain improvements across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. HP’s drop in shipments was due mostly to a decrease in Chromebooks shipments, Gartner said.
Dell’s shipments fell by just 5.2% to 13.2 million, helping it inch closer to HP for the second spot in both shipments and market share. At the bottom of the list, Acer and Asus saw declines of 18.7% and 4.3%, respectively. The only bright spot in a sour quarter was Apple, which enjoyed a 9.3% bump in shipments to 6.3 million, thanks to hot demand for its M1-powered computers.
Looking at specific regions throughout the world, the U.S. saw a 17.5% drop in PC shipments. Desktops and laptops both enjoyed higher growth, but that was offset by a sharp downturn in Chromebook shipments. The EMEA region fared even worse, with an 18% decline in shipments.
Calling the latest results in the EMEA region “a major setback in total volume,” Kitagawa said that the market had enjoyed two years of solid growth buoyed by PC demand during the pandemic and renewed interest from the consumer and education segments.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine hurt the market, as Russian shipments used to contribute between 5% and 10% of the total PC volume for the region. Looking ahead, high levels of inflation will likely stifle consumer PC purchases in the EMEA region during the second half of 2022 and possibly the first half of 2023.
The Asia Pacific region — excluding Japan — saw a 5.2% decline in second-quarter shipments. China alone accounted for a 16% drop as COVID-19 lockdowns hit the economy, resulting in carrier and logistics issues as well as delays in orders and deliveries. Shipments in Japan fell by 10.8% due to rising prices, weak currency valuations, increased fuel costs and tighter IT spending in general.