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Craig Hale

PC shipments are now back above pre-pandemic levels — but you might still want to hold off buying one


The latest figures from IDC have revealed that PC shipments are finally on the rise once again.

The analyst firm reported 1.5% year-on-year growth during the first three months of 2024, with 59.8 million shipments during the period.

But despite the positive news, IDC noted PC shipments during the same period of 2023 had fallen by 28.7%, making it easy for the most recent quarter to have been a slight rise.

PC shipments are rising

In its announcement, IDC also noted that PC shipments had returned to pre-pandemic levels, with Q1 2024 shipments being extremely close to the 60.5 million devices shipped in Q1 2019.

IDC thanks easing inflation for the healthy growth, with the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa all showing signs of recovery.

However, continuing geopolitical tensions between China and many Western countries are said to have “directly impacted the global PC market.”

Research manager Jitesh Ubrani commented: “Despite China's struggles, the recovery is expected to continue in 2024 as newer AI PCs hit shelves later this year and as commercial buyers begin refreshing the PCs that were purchased during the pandemic.”

Ubrani also noted that emerging AI PCs could not only help to boost sales figures, with companies more willing to upgrade to a future-proof machine, but the new category of computing devices could also boost total spend, with AI PCs likely commanding a higher price tag.

Lenovo and HP continued to dominate the market in the first quarter of 2024, accounting for 23.0% and 20.1% respectively. Dell rounded off the top three, at 15.5%, with Apple accounting for just 8.1% in fourth place.

Canalys also announced its take on the global PC market, revealing a total of 57.2 million shipments in the first three months of 2024 – the discrepancy is a result of different tracking metrics, however the 3.2% year-on-year growth noted by Canalys shares a similarly positive outlook.

Canalys forecasts that up to 50 million PCs shipped in 2024 will be AI-capable, indicating signs of growth in the emerging market, but with many businesses typically holding off before investing in new technologies, hardware, and software, the coming quarters could be crucial in assessing not only industry growth, but also the relevance of AI PCs.

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