Windows PC shipments are down massively in Q1, but Apple took the biggest hit

Bing's idea of what an upset Apple user might look like
(Image credit: Bing)

What you need to know

  • The IDC tracks the device economy in the United States. 
  • The research firm is reporting an overall 29% decline in PC shipments year-over-year in Q1 2023. 
  • The biggest loser was Apple, who saw its shipments of its M1 and M2-based Macs decline by a massive 40%. 

The IDC tracks and analyzes consumer and business spending in the United States, and it has painted a dim picture of PC shipments over the last quarter. 

According to the firm, global shipments of Windows PCs fell by a massive 29% year over year in Q1 of 2023, wiping billions of growth off the major PC OEMs. The contraction is due in part to the pandemic, which saw irregularly high demand for new terminals as work-from-home culture boomed. As such, the contraction is not entirely unexpected, although it's clear that some PC manufacturers over-stocked themselves, which is why we're seeing deep cuts like this recent Lenovo ThinkPad X1 PC deal, wiping hundreds of typical laptop asking prices. 

IDC researcher Jitesh Ubrani noted that inventory is still higher than demand, despite depletions. "Though channel inventory has depleted in the last few months, it's still well above the healthy four to six-week range. Even with heavy discounting, channels and PC makers can expect elevated inventory to persist into the middle of the year and potentially into the third quarter." The implication there being, we could see even more discounts on PCs and associated hardware. 

It's not all doom and gloom, though. The lowered demand is reportedly giving PC manufacturers a brief opportunity to explore the diversification of their supply chains, as sanctions and embargos on supply chains evolve as a result of current geopolitical tensions. Increasingly, the United States and European Union are looking to bolster home-grown chip fabrication, as the U.S. seeks to curb dependency on China. 

All the major OEMs took a big hit, but the biggest loser was Apple.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
IDC analysis of Q1 2023 PC shipments.
Company1Q23 Shipments1Q23 Market Share1Q22 Shipments1Q22 Market Share1Q23/1Q22 Growth
1. Lenovo12.722.4%18.322.8%-30.3%
2. HP Inc.12.021.1%15.819.7%-24.2%
3. Dell Technologies9.516.7%13.717.1%-31.0%
4. Apple4.17.2%6.98.6%-40.5%
5. ASUS3.96.8%5.66.9%-30.3%

The chart above shared by IDC gives us a glimpse at the major players in the PC market. Most players hovered around the 30% mark, with HP bucking trends at 25%. The biggest loser was Apple, however, whose recently-refreshed line of home-grown M1 and M2-based devices saw dips of up to 40%. The report doesn't include "tablets" in the equation, which makes it unclear whether or not this includes 2-in-1 devices like the recent Surface Pro 9. In any case, it's likely those devices are suffering from the post-pandemic dip as well. 

The wider macroeconomic environment isn't helping either. Inflation has hit spending power hard, and Apple devices tend to be on the higher-end "luxury" device spectrum, making them a hard pill to swallow for most users and businesses. OEMs making more business and education-grade devices like HP were likely buoyed somewhat by affordability, but as the IDC notes, recession in the coming months could see recovery slow. 

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!