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Chromebooks Off 29%

Global PC Shipment Skid Continues for 5th Quarter: Canalys

Worldwide PC shipments fell year on year for the fifth consecutive quarter as worsening macroeconomic conditions led consumers and businesses to take a cautious approach to spending, reported Canalys Wednesday. Q3 shipments fell 14% from the prior-year quarter to 105.6 million; shipments increased just 1% from Q2 on “major supply disruption” due to COVID-19 lockdowns in China, said the research firm.

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Global tablet shipments fell 6% in the quarter to 35.3 million; Apple led the tablet market in Q3, but iPad shipments dropped 6% year on year to 14.4 million. Samsung, second, shipped 6.6 million tablets, an 8% drop. Amazon, in third, grew shipments 18% to 3.2 million, fueled by heavy discounting on Fire tablets on Prime Day, Canalys said. Apple had 41% of the global tablet market; Samsung, 18.7% and Amazon 9.1%, it said.

With in-person schooling resumed after COVID-19 lockdowns around the world, spending on tablet refreshes “is plummeting as household budgets are pared back,” said Canalys analyst Himani Mukka. Promotions and deals have helped keep shipment volume higher than pre-pandemic, she said. “While the tablet market is unlikely to reach the highs it enjoyed in 2020 and 2021 again, the trajectory is more positive than was anticipated a few years ago, and vendors are signaling continued focus on the category,” she said.

Demand saturation in the education market also took a toll on Chromebooks, said analyst Brian Lynch. Chromebook units plunged 29% to 4.2 million, the lowest Q3 shipment tally since 2019. The market began to show signs of saturation in Q3 last year, and “vendors have struggled to find growth opportunities in other segments while managing high inventory levels,” Lynch said. Though declines were expected, they were worse than forecast due to economic headwinds and limited education budgets. High inventory and low demand have “dented enthusiasm for Chromebooks for some vendors,” he said.

Acer has had the most success with Chromebooks in recent quarters, taking first place in Q3 with 1.1 million shipments, an 11% year-on-year increase, Canalys said. HP was second with 800,000 shipments, a 27% drop. Lenovo had the steepest decline of major vendors at 50%, it said.

Canalys also reported Wednesday that smartphone shipments in Southeast Asia fell 4% year on year in Q3 on “ongoing deterioration of consumer demand.” Samsung widened its lead in the region, shipping 5.9 million units for 25% share, said the research firm. “Post-pandemic inflation is likely to linger for the rest of 2022,” said analyst Chiew Le Xuan, saying macroeconomic headwinds affected consumer confidence and smartphone vendors’ operating costs.

Vendors in the region launched low-end products in Q3 to protect share, he said. Samsung used its marketing muscle and popups to publicize its new foldable line-up “as the retail channel returned to pre-pandemic levels." Apple’s iPhone 14 launch in Singapore and Thailand, with “solid demand” for the Pro series, “reiterates that the high-end segment remains unimpeded by inflation,” he said.