After two years of growth, the year 2021 had signaled the end of the euphoria on the PC and smartphone market. Consumers having massively equipped themselves during the Covid-19 pandemic, and while the shortage of electronic components plays extra time, the hour is in decline, and this trend should continue in 2023.
Indeed, shipments of devices (PCs, tablets and smartphones) are expected to fall 4.4% this year, to 1.7 billion units, after an 11.9% decline in 2022, according to Gartner. This drop should be put into perspective with the 5.1% decrease in end-user spending over the year. The US cabinet does not expect an upturn before the fourth quarter of 2023, during which inflation could decline.
Consumers and businesses wait before buying a PC
The steepest decline will be in PC shipments, which are expected to fall 6.8% in 2023 to 267.7 million units, after falling 16% last year. Hit hard by inflation, consumers, like businesses, will extend the replacement cycle for PCs and tablets by more than nine months by the end of 2023.
As a reminder, only Apple had done well last year with a 40.2% surge in shipments in the third quarter of 2022. In one year, the market share of Tim Cook’s group has increased from 8.2% at 13.5%.
New setback in sight for smartphones
The picture is no better for smartphones, with shipments expected to fall 4% in 2023, according to Gartner, after an 11% drop in 2022. 1.4 billion terminals are expected to be shipped over the year , a level close to 2009, when BlackBerry and Nokia were competing for the market and trying to counter the rise of Apple. The year 2023 will therefore remain very far from the peak of 2015, with 1.9 billion smartphones shipped.
Forecasts which are not surprising when we know that the market suffered in the fourth quarter of 2022 its strongest decline in a decade. The economic context not being favourable, consumers postpone the purchase of a new terminal. “Consumers are keeping their phones longer than expected, six to nine months”analyzes Ranjit Atwal. “Additionally, vendors are passing on inflationary component costs to users, further dampening demand. End-user spending on mobile phones is projected to decline by 3.8% in 2023”he adds.
The current slump does not, however, affect the morale of Samsung and Apple, the two leaders in the sector having managed to grab market share in 2022, according to Canalys.