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Worldwide sales of personal computers declined 15% year-over-year in the third quarter, research firm International Data Corp. has found.

IDC detailed its findings in the latest edition of its Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, a quarterly market research report. Preliminary results from the report were published today.

PC makers shipped 74.25 million computers in the third quarter, IDC has found, down 15% from 87.31 million computers a year ago. The sales drop follows a similar 15.3% year-over-year decline in the previous quarter. IDC today attributed the weakening sales primarily to a combination of  “cooling demand and uneven supply” in the PC market.

“In addition to shipment volumes, we’ll be keeping a close eye on how average selling prices (ASPs) trend this quarter,” said Linn Huang, the research vice president for devices and displays at IDC. “Shortages over the last several years have aggressively driven product mix shifts towards the premium end. This, coupled with cost increases of components and logistics, drove ASPs up five quarters in a row to $910 in 1Q22, the highest since 2004. However, with demand slowing, promotions in full swing, and orders being cut, the ASP climb was reversed in 2Q22. Another quarter of ASP declines indicates a market in retreat.”

The three largest PC makers, Lenovo Group Ltd., HP Inc. and Dell Technologies Inc., shipped fewer computers during the third quarter than the same time a year ago. Lenovo retained its rank as the world’s largest PC maker with a market share of 22.7%. HP accounted for 17.1% of PC sales while Dell closed the three months ended September 30 with a 17.4% market share.

Apple Inc. was the only major PC that logged an increase in computer shipments during the third quarter. According to IDC, the number of Mac computers shipped by Apple jumped 40.2% from 7.17 million a year ago to 10 million.

Apple’s third quarter sales increase followed the introduction of new MacBook laptops in the second quarter. The company debuted a redesigned MacBook Air with an aluminum chassis and a faster version of its flagship laptop, the MacBook Pro.

Both devices feature Apple’s latest internally-developed laptop chip, the M2. It includes an eight-core central processing unit that provides 18% higher performance than its predecessor. The M2 also features a graphics processing unit and an artificial intelligence accelerator touted as 35% and 40% faster, respectively, than Apple’s previous-generation silicon.

“Consumer demand has remained muted though promotional activity from the likes of Apple and other players has helped soften the fall and reduce channel inventory by a couple weeks across the board,” said Jitesh Ubrani, the research manager for IDC’s Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers. “Supply has also reacted to the new lows by reducing orders with Apple being the only exception as their third quarter supply increased to make up for lost orders stemming from the lockdowns in China during the second quarter.”

IDC estimates that Lenovo, HP, Dell, Apple and ASUSTek Computer Inc. together accounted for 77% of worldwide computer shipments during the third quarter. Though PC demand declined on a year-over-year basis, the research firm noted that “shipment volumes remain well above pre-pandemic levels,” when PC sales were largely driven by hardware refresh initiatives in the enterprise. Those hardware refresh initiatives were part of organizations’ efforts to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

Photo: Unsplash

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