Global shipments of personal computers have fallen sharply by 9 per cent to 64.3 million units in the third quarter of 2023, as against 70.6 million in the same quarter last year, making it the eighth consecutive quarter of declining shipments.

The top vendors in the worldwide PC market remained unchanged in the third quarter of 2023, with Lenovo maintaining the No 1 spot in shipments with 25.1 per cent (23.9 in Q3 2022) market share, followed by HP with 21 per cent (18 per cent in Q3 2022) , Dell with 16.1 per cent (17 per cent) and Apple with 9.7 per cent (11 per cent).

Gartner, however, asserts that PC shipments will begin to see growth in the fourth quarter of the calendar year 2023.

Stating that these are only preliminary estimates of the PC shipments, the global consulting and research company projects a 4.9 per cent growth for 2024, with business and consumer segments driving the growth.

The firm, however, sees minimal impact from the Indian government’s decision to restrict the import of certain devices.

“In India, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) announced new restrictions on the import of certain devices in August 2023 as part of a bid to encourage local manufacturing. While the initial announcement caused a minor disruption as several vendors had to halt imports, a revised announcement soon after extended the deadline to November 2023 and imports resumed to normal volumes,” the Gartner preliminary estimate said.

The decision to implement any restrictions has now been moved to October 2024, meaning that the India PC market will see minimal impact through the rest of this year. 

‘Worst could be over’

Mikako Kitagawa, Director Analyst at Gartner, argues that there was evidence to show that the PC market’s decline had finally bottomed out.

“The good news for PC vendors is that the worst could be over by the end of 2023,” she said.

“The business PC market is ready for the next replacement cycle, driven by the Windows 11 upgrades. Consumer PC demand should also begin to recover as PCs purchased during the pandemic are entering the early stages of a refresh cycle,” she said.

Seasonal demand from the education market boosted shipments in the third quarter, although enterprise PC demand remained weak, offsetting some growth.

“Vendors also made consistent progress towards reducing PC inventory, with inventory expected to return to normal by the end of 2023, as long as holiday sales do not collapse,” she said.

Changes in market shares

While Lenovo once again saw a year-over-year decline in shipments, HP was the only vendor to exhibit year-over-year growth across all regions. Dell reported a sixth consecutive quarter of shipment decline, impacted by weak enterprise PC demand.

Apple’s shipments, too, declined sharply compared to a year ago, in part because its shipment volume increased significantly in the third quarter 2022 once supply disruptions from earlier in 2022, due to China’s lockdown, had eased. In the third quarter of 2023, Apple’s shipments followed seasonal trends, primarily driven by demand from students and educators.

APAC region

The Asia-Pacific PC market declined 13 per cent year-over-year, driven by a steep 20 per cent decline in China. In China, consumer PC spending remained weak due to unemployment issues, while enterprise PC demand also slowed due to spending cuts in the government.