Over the past two years, PC shipments plummeted by more than 100-million units, according to research group Stocklytics, which adds that 2023 culminated in a historic low for the industry. Global PC shipments fell from approximately 342-million units in 2021 to around 242-million units last year.

“Shipment volume in 2022 and 2023 dwindled considerably mainly due to waning consumer demand for PCs in the wake of a detrimental economic crisis and with inflation flaring up,” says Stocklytics financial analyst, Edith Reads. ” This trend has raised concerns among manufacturers, suppliers, and analysts who are now reassessing the future trajectory of the PC market.”

PC sales in 2023 started their descent early with the first quarter seeing a 29% freefall compared to the same timeframe in 2022. Global shipments slipped to 56,9-million units, reverting to pre-pandemic levels before the industry’s record-setting 342-million shipments in 2021. Unfortunately, the sluggish pace set by Q1 2023 sales carried through the year.

The third quarter saw a notable recovery with roughly 68,5-million units shipped although it was a 7,2% slump from the corresponding period in 2022. This resurgence in Q3, however, was insufficient to make a significant turnaround as the year ultimately closed with a mere 242-million shipments – a 15-year low for the PC market.

Last year’s shipments represent a further 15% drop from 2022’s 286-million shipments, marking a tumultuous round for the PC market. The lull in shipment orders for these two years has made industry players rethink their market standpoints – some have already begun exploring other viable production plants outside of China, given that it was the largest consumer market for these devices.

However, recovery may be slow in coming years due to a projected component price hike and looming geopolitical and economic uncertainties.

Forecast for 2024?

While the future may be spotty for the PC industry, IDC projects a remarkable recovery for the PC market in 2024. The PC market achieved 1,5% growth from 2023 with about 59,8-million units sold in the year’s first quarter.

This partial rebound seems to signal the start of an impressive trajectory for the market given that the quarterly results were astoundingly close to 2019 Q1’s 60,5-million shipments.

IDC predicts a notable 3,4% market improvement in 2024 from 2023 buoyed by growing pressure on consumers and enterprises to adopt the Windows 11 operating system.

Additionally, the proliferation of AI-enabled PC models is anticipated to reinvigorate demand and help the market recover from the recent slowdown following the pandemic-driven buying frenzy.