Apple’s 40% plunge in PC shipments is steepest among major computer makers

(Bloomberg) — Apple Inc.’s shipments of personal computers fell 40.5% in the first quarter, marking a tough start to the year for PC makers still struggling with an abundance of unsold inventory.

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Shipments from all PC makers fell 29% to 56.9 million units — falling below early 2019 levels — as the surge in demand fueled by pandemic telecommuting faded, according to IDC’s latest report. Among the market leaders registered Lenovo Group Ltd. and Dell Technologies Inc. fell more than 30%, while HP Inc. was down 24.2%. No major brands were spared from the decline, with Asustek Computer Inc. rounding out the top 5 with a 30.3% drop.

The decline in consumption over the past year has led to double-digit declines in smartphone shipments and an accumulating glut among the world̵[ads1]7;s top memory chip suppliers. Samsung Electronics Co., which supplies memory for portable devices as well as desktop and laptop PCs, said last week it was cutting memory production after reporting its smallest profit since the 2009 financial crisis.

“While channel inventory has deflated in recent months, it remains well above the healthy four-to-six-week range,” said Jitesh Ubrani, IDC head of research. “Even with deep discounts, channels and PC manufacturers can expect increased inventory to persist into the middle of the year and potentially into the third quarter.”

A silver lining is that demand for cooling gives manufacturers time and room “to make changes as many factories begin to explore manufacturing options outside of China,” IDC said in the report. Apple is gradually diversifying the geography of its manufacturing base as tensions between Washington and Beijing threaten to disrupt its carefully orchestrated supply chain.

Read more: Apple looks beyond China in bid to remake Cook’s supply chains

Looking toward 2024, IDC researchers anticipate a potential upswing for PC makers, driven by a combination of aging hardware that needs to be replaced and an improving global economy.

–With the assistance of Gao Yuan.

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