IDC: PC Sales, Including Macs, Are Way Down From a Year Ago


Weak demand, excess inventory, and a worsening macroeconomic climate were all contributing factors for the precipitous drop in shipments of traditional PCs during the first quarter of 2023 (1Q23). Global shipments numbered 56.9 million, marking a contraction of 29.0% compared to the same quarter in 2022, according to preliminary results from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker.

The preliminary results also represented a coda to the era of COVID-driven demand and at least a temporary return to pre-COVID patterns. Shipment volume in 1Q23 was noticeably lower than the 59.2 million units shipped in 1Q19 and 60.6 million in 1Q18.

According to IDC, Windows PC sales are down about 30 percent for the first quarter, year-over-year, and Mac sales are down 40 percent. Are IDC’s numbers accurate? We should get a sense of that when Apple announces results for the January–March quarter on May 4.

But we’ve already seen how strong the pull-forward effect from COVID and work-from-home has been: for the October–December 2022 quarter, Mac revenue was down 31 percent. And most strikingly, Apple had a record-breaking quarter for Mac sales in the July–September quarter of 2020 — after Apple had announced the transition to Apple Silicon at WWDC, but months before those much-anticipated Macs shipped. People buy new PCs when they need them, and zillions of people needed new PCs during COVID and with the post-COVID continuing transition to more work from home.

Update 4 May 2023: Apple’s actual results for the quarter show Mac sales down only 31 percent year-over-year.

Thursday, 13 April 2023