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 it estimates PC shipments fell 7.3% year over year to 77.5 million units, which was driven primarily by a steep drop in Chromebook shipments. Chromebooks are inexpensive laptops popular in schools that run on Google’s operating system.
The declining shipments during the first quarter are a marked difference from the torrid pace of sales growth the industry posted during 2021.
PC sales posted their fastest growth in 20 years during the first quarter of 2021, as consumers and businesses bought new laptops and desktops for remote work and learning. In 2021, PC sales grew about 15%, returning to 2012 levels after nearly a decade of slow or no growth.
Other reports issued on Monday also showed a decline. IDC estimated a 5.1% drop to about 80.5 million units shipped. Canalys saw a 3% drop in shipments for the first three months of 2022, although it estimates total PC revenue still grew. Gartner said the PC market grew 3.3% annually, excluding Chromebooks.
The industry faced challenges related to supplies of parts needed for laptops and desktops stemming from a global chip shortage during the PC sales boom. Computer vendors also stopped shipping new computers into Russia during its invasion of Ukraine.
Companies that make computers or key parts such as processors had hoped that the pandemic had created a new, higher sales base for the industry, but some analysts warned that there were signs that growth could slow dramatically because so many people had already bought new computers.
Lenovo, HP, Dell, an appleAsus and Acer were the six largest PC companies by units shipped in the first quarter, according to Gartner.