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Canalys sees glimmer of hope in PC sector

The PC industry experienced another quarter of decline, but the outlook is more promising

Canalys’ latest PC data for worldwide PC shipments has shown a smaller decline than the figures for 2022.

The analyst firm reported that the worldwide PC market posted another sequential improvement in Q3 2023. While total shipments of PCs was 65.6 million units, down 7% year on year (YoY), they rose 8% compared to Q2 2023.

According to Canalus, this represents the smallest annual shipment decline for the industry in over a year and is a further sign of recovery in both inventory levels and underlying demand.

Canalys reported that shipments of notebooks dropped 6% annually to 52.1 million units, while desktop shipments were down 8% to 13.5 million units.

Discussing the worldwide PC market in Q3 2023, Ishan Dutt, principal analyst at Canalys, said: “Amid some improvements in the macroeconomic environment, key players across the industry are now expressing cautious optimism as their inventory correction efforts have been largely successful. As a result, pockets of underlying demand strength across all end-user segments are now better reflected in vendors’ sell-in shipment performance.”

Dutt said that most of the major PC manufacturer posted sequential growth in shipments, even after accounting for the demand boost from the education sector that largely materialised in the second quarter of 2023. Looking ahead, Canalys expects this trend to continue, with the market set for a return to growth during the holiday season.

The data from Canalys puts Lenovo as the most dominant manufacturer of PCs in Q3 2023. It shipped 16 million units and posted what Canalys described as “a relatively modest annual decline” of 4%. Second-placed HP enjoyed another quarter of growth, with its shipments up 7% annually to 13.5 million units. Dell was the third largest manufacturer, in terms of shipments, during the quarter, which Canalys reported had experienced a heavier shipment decline of 14%. Fourth-placed Apple posted the largest YoY drop in shipments, down 29% to 6.4 million units. But, Canalys said, this was largely driven by a strong quarter last year, when it was able to fulfil pent-up demand following supply chain disruptions. Fifth place Asus shipped 4.9 million units.

Kieren Jessop, research analyst at Canalys believes artificial intelligence (AI) will drive up demand for new, more powerful PC hardware: “Roadmaps for integration of on-device AI capabilities have already been outlined, with several products showcased at the HP Imagine event earlier this month and other vendors set to follow suit. Canalys forecasts that adoption of AI-capable PCs will accelerate from 2025 onward, with such devices accounting for around 60% of all PCs shipped in 2027.”

Fort instance, while Chromebooks are not normally considered the same as traditional laptop and notebook PCs for running enterprise applications, earlier this month Google unveiled Chromebook Plus. This represents a new category of notebook computing which, according to Google, doubles the performance compared to existing Chromebooks.

The devices use Intel Core i3 12th Gen or above, or AMD Ryzen 3 7000 series or above processors; 8GBytes or more of memory and 128 Gbytes or more of storage. The extra power available in these new devices is being used for AI-enabled functionality, such as Magic Eraser in Google Photos, and more graphically intensive workloads than was previously possible on Chromebooks.

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