Shoppers decide to buy a Microsoft laptop at Best Buy in Tampa, Florida, November 2021.
Octavio Jones Getty Images
Global PC shipments fell sharply in the first quarter of 2022, according to new industry estimates, suggesting the pandemic boom in PC sales is over.
Gartner said Monday that PC shipments fell 7.3 percent to 77.5 million units annually, driven primarily by a drop in Chromebook shipments. Chromebooks are low-cost laptops in schools that use Google’s operating system.
The drop in shipments in the first quarter is a stark contrast to the industry’s impressive pace of sales growth through 2021.
PC sales posted the fastest growth in 20 years in the first quarter of 2021 as consumers and businesses bought new laptops and desktops for remote work and learning. In 2021, PC sales grew by about 15%, returning to 2012 levels after nearly a decade of slow or no growth.
Other reports issued on Monday also showed declines. IDC estimates a 5.1% decline with about 80.5 million units shipped. Canalys reported a 3% drop in shipments for the first three months of 2022, although it estimates PC revenue still grew. Gartner said the PC market grew 3.3% annually, excluding Chromebooks.
The industry faced challenges related to the supply of parts needed for laptops and desktops due to chip shortages during the PC sales boom. Computer vendors have also stopped shipping new computers to Russia during the invasion of Ukraine.
Companies that make key parts such as computers or processors hope the pandemic has created a larger sales base for the industry, but some analysts warn there are signs that growth could slow dramatically as many people have already bought new computers.
Lenovo, HP, Dell, AppleAsus and Acer were the top six PC companies by units shipped in the first quarter, according to Gartner.