PC shipments fall again, but vendors are probably OK with that

Sales of PCs have slumped in the US during the first quarter of 2022, but the news may not be entirely bad for manufacturers.

The latest figures from Canalys state that 19.5 million desktops, notebooks and workstation units were shipped in Q1 2022, down 14% compared to the same period in the previous year.

However revenues were up 40% as high-end devices increasingly dominated the market, particularly from business and enterprise customers looking to upgrade their tech stack. Sales of premium device such as Apple’s M1-powered MacBook line looked to address the growing move towards hybrid working, as users turned to devices offering high-end features such as video conferencing and all-day battery life.

PC sales fall

Canalys found that Dell was once again the most successful manufacturer, seeing sales grow 7% compared to the previous year to take top spot for the third quarter in a row.

The company shipped 5.14 million units in total during the quarter for a 26% market share, ahead of HP in second (4.29 million units for 22% share), Lenovo (3.26 million units for 17%) and Apple (2.67 million units for 14% share).

HP and Lenovo both saw significant drops in sales compared to 2021, registering a 40% and 24% slump, respectively – however, Apple saw an 18% growth as users flocked to its M1 devices.

A collapse in Chromebook sales was a major part of the overall fall, with notebook shipments dropping 22% as education spending on new devices fell as students returned to a normal school schedule following the easing of the pandemic.

“US PC shipments underwent a third consecutive quarter of decline as the relative strengths of end-user segments changed,” said Brian Lynch, Canalys Research Analyst. 

“The consumer and education segments saw demand slow further due to market saturation and rising concerns about inflation, which peaked in March at 8.5%, the highest rate of twelve-month increase since 1981.” 

“Hybrid work has proved to be a key driver for commercial shipments as employees rely on their devices more than ever for productivity. Features to support hybrid workstyles, such as better audio/video capabilities and longer battery life, have become increasingly important, giving workers more reason to ask for device upgrades. Commercial demand is set to remain strong this year despite the macroeconomic pressure facing the PC industry and will help limit the overall expected shipment declines.”  

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