PC Market Experiences 'Sharpest Decline in Nine Years'

HP experienced the biggest drop off in demand of any major PC manufacturer.
HP experienced the biggest drop off in demand of any major PC manufacturer. / SOPA Images/GettyImages

The global PC market hit a significant snag in the second quarter of 2022, facing the sharpest decline in sales of the last nine years (H/T Eurogamer).

Sales dropped by 12.6% year-over-year per research firm Gartner, down to 72 million units shipped. Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner, said various geopolitical and economic reasons led to the drop.

"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.

"Supply chain disruptions also continued, but the major cause of PC delivery delays changed from component shortages to logistics disruptions. Enterprise buyers continued to experience longer PC delivery times than usual, but the lead times began to improve by the end of the second quarter, partially because key cities in China reopened in the middle of the quarter."

HP experienced the most dramatic drop off, with shipments falling 27.5% year-over-year. Lenovo, which has the biggest market share, saw a 12.5% drop in shipments.

Flagging demand for Chromebooks is likely tied to saturation of the consumer and education markets for budget-oriented computers. Sales are expected to bounce back when those markets reach the start of their next refresh cycle, but that likely won't be for years now.

Apple was the only major PC vendor to see growth, with sales up 9.3% to 6.36 million units. That growth is said to have been aided by its new M1 Ultra chips.

Gaming PC sales have also dipped, but at a slower rate than the wider market, per Ampere Analysis. Sales are expected to fall from $35.3 billion in 2021 to $34.2 billion in 2022, in part because of the global chip shortage. The combination of a flagging cryptocurrency market and the easing of chip supply struggles have helped normalize prices somewhat, and big hardware releases from AMD, Intel and Nvidia expected later this year should help boost the market.