The global PC market has reportedly faced a sharp drop in shipments in the second quarter of 2022.
According to preliminary data analysed by research firm Gartner, sales fell by 12.6 percent year-on-year to 72.01m units.
Gartner puts the decline down to three main causes: the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the cost of living crisis caused by inflation and steep downturn in demand for Chromebooks.
Apple was the only major vendor to see growth, with sales up 9.3 percent to 6.36m units, driven by the popularity of Apple’s new homegrown chips.
The decline in Chromebook sales started in the third quarter of last year. The problem is that the consumer and education markets for cheap budget-orientated computers are saturated, with sales only returning in the next refresh-cycle which is some years away. In other words, consumers who purchased a Chromebook during the peak of the pandemic have little reason to upgrade yet.
Nonetheless, this doesn’t mark the end of the personal computer. Gaming PCs continue to be a large contributor to the overall market.
Ampere Analysis suggests the PC gaming content and services market is set to fall from $35.3bn to $34.2bn, which is a much lower decrease than the drop in the overall PC hardware market.
A large reason for the decline in gaming PC sales is the inflated prices of graphics cards, partly driven by cryptocurrency miners and partly due to the global chip shortage. Fortunately, supply constraints appear to have eased just as the cryptocurrency market has faced a number of significant shocks, leading to a normalisation of prices.
Moreover, the next generation of processors and graphics cards from AMD, Intel and Nvidia are expected later this year, which will undoubtedly boost PC sales as gamers upgrade to the latest and greatest in a bid to outperform the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.