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PC Shipments Fall 29%, Led by Drop in Apple Devices

PC shipments sagged on weaker demand, with

Apple Inc.

AAPL -2.71%

leading the decline as the industry grapples with a pandemic-driven glut in inventory, according to market research firm International Data Corp.

Global PC shipments tumbled to 56.9 million in the first quarter, down 29% from the same period a year earlier and below the 59.2 million units shipped in the first quarter of 2019, before the pandemic drove a surge in demand, IDC said.

Apple, which IDC says commands a 7.2% share of the global PC market, saw shipments tumble by 40.5%, leading the drop across the five PC companies analyzed in the IDC report. Lenovo Group Ltd.’s shipments fell 30.3%,

HP Inc.’s

HPQ 0.43%

shipments dropped by 24.2%, and

Dell Technologies Inc.

DELL 1.35%

shipped 31% fewer units than it did a year earlier, according to the report.

Inventories have come down in the past few months but are still elevated, according to Jitesh Ubrani, a research manager at IDC.

“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,” he said.

The data weighed on shares of PC makers, sending shares of Apple, HP and Dell all about 1% lower in premarket trading.

Linn Huang, research vice president at IDC, said the industry could get relief next year as customers look to upgrade aging computers. He warned that an economic downturn could weigh on that recovery.

“If the economy is trending upwards by then, we expect significant market upside as consumers look to refresh, schools seek to replace worn down Chromebooks, and businesses move to Windows 11,” Mr. Huang said. “If recession in key markets drags on into next year, recovery could be a slog.”

IDC also noted that the slowdown is giving the industry room to reconsider its supply chain, with many manufacturers exploring production options outside of China.

Write to Will Feuer at [email protected]

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