Apple is the biggest loser as weak demand crashes global PC shipments


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In brief: It’s a case of another day, another gloomy report on the state of the PC market. This time, it’s research giant IDC that has produced a bleak summary of the industry. The first quarter saw global shipments crater, and the biggest victim was the world’s largest company, Apple.

The International Data Corporation’s (IDC) latest report on the PC market reiterates the problems that the industry has been facing for around a year now: weak demand, excess inventory, and a worsening macroeconomic climate.

The first quarter saw shipments of traditional PCs crash to 56.9 million, marking a -29% decline compared to the 80.2 million units shipped in the same period last year. IDC notes that the figures illustrate how shipments have, at least for now, returned to levels experienced before the pandemic-induced boom. Shipment volume in the first quarter was noticeably lower than the 59.2 million units shipped in Q1 2019 and 60.6 million in the first quarter of 2018.

While all five of the top PC manufacturers saw declines in year-on-year growth in Q1 2023, it was Apple that took the biggest hit. Cupertino’s shipments fell by a massive -40.5% during the quarter.

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Apple’s misfortune doesn’t come as too much of a surprise. The refreshed MacBook Pros with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips arrived back in January to rave reviews – they won some categories in our recent Best Laptops feature – but the company reportedly froze production of its M2 series of SoCs in January and February due to lower than anticipated MacBook demand. Apple is said to have resumed production in March, but at a 50% slower rate compared to before the shutdown.

Lenovo remains the top company in terms of total shipments in Q1 (12.7 million). It’s followed by HP, Dell, Apple, and Asus. HP saw the lowest yearly decline in shipments, falling -24.2%.

The report comes just days after Samsung, the world’s largest manufacturer of DRAM and NAND chips, said it would be scaling back chip production to what it calls a “meaningful level” after reporting its lowest quarterly profits since the 2009 financial crisis.

There was some good news in the report. IDC writes that the slowing demands are giving…