US PC market may have bottomed out, recovery predicted in Q4

An iMac on a desk

The analyst company Canalys has said that it believes the US PC market has bottomed out and is set for recovery at the end of the year. During the work-from-home period, desktop and notebook shipments reached more than 25 million units in Q2 2021, since then, shipments have been declining and in the most recent quarter, there were just 14 million unit shipments.

During the first quarter of this year, Canalys reported that notebooks accounted for 11.4 million units and desktops accounted for 2.7 million units. The notebook shipments were down 31% year-over-year while desktops were down 28%.

The company also looked at tablets and found that these held up better than PCs with just a decline of shipments by 7% down to 10.8 million units. This segment was greatly helped by sales of Apple’s iPad which saw the most shipments in the last two quarters than any time since Q1 2021.

“A confluence of factors led to the US PC market bottoming out at the start of 2023,” said Ishan Dutt, Principal Analyst at Canalys. “The expected seasonal drop after the holidays coincided with the channel finalizing its inventory correction, resulting in muted sell-in of PCs.“

“On the commercial front, businesses continue to grapple with economic pressures, including three further interest rate hikes since the start of the year. Budget-conscious organizations have extended the life cycle of their existing PCs, with many opting only for critical upgrades.”

As mentioned, the iPad has seen increasing shipments recently. In the first quarter of 2023, it saw 5.4 million shipments compared to 4.4 million in the same period the year before. That’s a 20.5% growth.

The only other tablet company to see growth was TCL but the growth was a measly 0.9%, nothing compared to the growth Apple saw. Amazon, Samsung, and Microsoft all saw tablet shipments fall - Microsoft was worst off seeing a decline of 30.4%.

In the PC section, no company saw any annual growth. Ironically, the company hit the hardest in the PC market was Apple which saw an annual growth of -35.8%. Lenovo was not too far behind at -35%. The company that held up best was HP which saw growth of -13.2%.

With increasing interest rates and the powerhouse of Europe, Germany, going into recession, it won’t be too surprising if we see much of the developed world fall into recession too. This slowdown could knock off Canalys prediction, but we’ll have to wait and see.

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