Market saturation and inflation have had a negative impact on PC and Mac sales, according to IDC research data for the first fiscal quarter of 2023. Global shipments of PCs totaled 56.9 million units, down 29% from the first quarter of 2022. This downward trend is evident when compared to Q1 2019, when 59.2 million units were shipped, and Q1 2018, when 60.6 million units were shipped, suggesting that PC sales are returning to levels before the pandemic.

Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC’s Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers, stated, “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.” This means that the impact of inflation on PC sales may continue to be felt for some time.

However, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Linn Huang, research vice president of Devices and Displays at IDC, said “by 2024, an aging installed base will start coming up for refresh.” This means that as customers look to upgrade their legacy PCs and businesses begin to actively migrate to Windows 11, PC sales are likely to increase in the near future.

And while the drop in PC sales may be worrying for manufacturers, it opens up new opportunities for consumers, especially gamers. When sales are sluggish and inventories are high, manufacturers often resort to discounting their products to stimulate sales and free up inventory. This can make expensive items like gaming PCs and gaming laptops more affordable, especially in this generation when prices are high.