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Mac shipments collapse 40% year over year on declining demand

IDC claims that an end to COVID-driven demand means first-quarter 2023 sales of all computers are dramatically lower than a year ago, but Apple has reportedly been hit the hardest.

Having previously said Apple weathered the holiday season while no other computer manufacturer did, IDC now says that year over year, Mac sales are down 40% in the first quarter. Global PC shipments, including Macs, were down 29% to 56.9 million devices.

"Though channel inventory has depleted in the last few months, it's still well above the healthy four to six week range," Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC's Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers, wrote. "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 market leader, Lenovo, shipped 12.7 million devices in Q1 2023, compared to 18.3 million in Q1 2022, for a 30.3% drop. Second place firm HP saw the smallest drop, but its shipping 12 million devices was still 24.2% down.

Dell was third with a 31% decline meaning it shipped 9.5 million PCs compared to 13.7 million the year before.

Apple was fourth, with 4.1 million Macs shipped in Q1 2023 compared to 6.9 million for the same period in 2022. This is apparently despite the release of new MacBook Pro models in January 2023.

Source: IDC

IDC blames the decline on "weak demand, excess inventory, and a worsening macroeconomic climate," following "a least a temporary return to pre-COVID patterns."

The firm predicts, however, that computer sales may recover at some point in 2023, depending on the recovery.

"By 2024, an aging installed base will start coming up for refresh," Linn Huang, research vice president, Devices and Displays at IDC, wrote. "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."

"If recession in key markets drags on into next year, recovery could be a slog," concluded Huang.

Apple has not reported Mac sales volumes in very close to a decade. IDC's report is based on what it describes as "detailed market data" that is compiled "in over 90 countries."