Intel and the other chip manufacturers (but also all the retail operators in the tech sector) are warned: forecasts for this year’s sales of PCs, tablet computers and mobile phones are still negative and the decline expected by Gartner analysts it is quantified in terms of volume in the order of 4.4% on a global scale, for a total of 1.7 billion units estimated to be delivered. The decline in demand for personal devices therefore finds continuity for the second consecutive year – in 2022 the decline was 11.9% – and only in the second half of the year will the inventory levels of PC manufacturers return to normal. after swelling significantly over the past year. Speaking of PCs: the past twelve months have been the worst for a long time now (after the boom of 2020 and 2021 linked to the pandemic and the race for distance learning and smart working), marking a drop of 16% compared to the previous year, while the estimate updated to next December speaks of a decrease in sales equal to 7%. The downward trend of the market is therefore destined to ease, with a consequent increase in business investments and the partial recovery of spending by consumers, but the final balance remains in the red.
Change of pace expected in the fourth quarter
The macroeconomic depression will continue to curb the demand for devices throughout 2023, with end-user spending expected to decrease overall by 5.1%”: the clarification of Ranjit Atwal, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner, does not leave room for many doubts about the possible trend of sales, underlining in this sense that the exit from the tunnel of inflation and the recession can not materialize before the fourth quarter of the year. Another factor that will weigh on the dynamics of purchases is therefore the lengthening of replacement cycles, which extend on average from 6 to over 9 months for all devices.
Smartphones down 4%
Looking at the product categories considered by Gartner in detail, it immediately catches the eye how tablets will recover more quickly from the drop in demand, with a decrease that in 2023 should be limited to just under 3%, while mobile phones should record a drop of 4%, for about 1.34 billion units sold, of which 1.23 billion (compared to 1.28 billion in 2022) will be smartphones. As for PCs (desktops and all the various types of laptops, including Chromebooks), which will still lose around 7% of volume sales (around 80 million units), analysts estimate that over 25% of company machines are destined to switch to Windows 11 by the end of 2023. However, this “mass migration” to the new version of the Microsoft operating system will not be enough to generate sufficient sales to reach the peaks recorded between 2020 and 2022, also in consideration of the aforementioned extension of replacement cycles. “Consumers – observed Atwal in this regard – will keep their phones longer than expected and will switch from fixed contracts to flexible contracts in the absence of significant new technologies, also because vendors are offloading the inflationary costs of components onto users, curbing the question further”. In short, the increase in prices is not paying off, at least as regards the world of tech devices.