Global shipments of personal computers (PCs) fell by 29 per cent in the first quarter of 2023 due to weak demand, excess inventory and a deteriorating macroeconomic climate, with Apple Inc taking the largest hit, market research firm IDC said.

In the report published Sunday, the International Data Corporation (IDC) said global PC shipments numbered 56.9 million in the first quarter of this year, down from 80.2 million in the same period last year.

The shipments extended a similar year-on-year decline of 28.1 per cent in the last quarter of 2022.

Of the top five PC companies analysed in the report, Apple’s Q1 shipments saw the largest drop of 40.5 per cent from the same period in 2022, with Dell Technologies Inc (DELL.N) coming in second with a drop of 31 per cent.

Lenovo Group Ltd (0992.HK), Asustek Computer Inc (2357.TW) and HP Inc (HPQ.N) also faced declines in shipments, the IDC said.

In February, Apple reported that sales of its Mac computers, which had boomed during the wave of working from home during the pandemic, declined 29 per cent YoY to $7.7 billion in their most recent quarter.

“The preliminary results also represented a coda to the era of COVID-driven demand and at least a temporary return to pre-COVID patterns. Shipment volume in Q1 2023 was noticeably lower than the 59.2 million units shipped in Q1 2019 and 60.6 million in Q1 2018,” IDC said.

“The pause in growth and demand is also giving the supply chain some room to make changes as many factories begin to explore production options outside China.”

Concerns over slowdowns in major economies remain, with recent tumult in the banking sector exacerbating worries that runaway inflation and tight monetary policy would hamper growth and financial investments.

If the economy is trending upwards by 2024, “we expect significant market upside as consumers look to refresh, schools seek to replace worn-down Chromebooks, and businesses move to Windows 11,” said Linn Huang, research vice president, Devices and Displays at IDC.

“If recession in key markets drags on into next year, recovery could be a slog.”