PC Shipments Down as Chromebook Popularity Drops and Inflation Hits: Gartner

Business PC shipments rose thanks to hybrid work.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Mac Studio and Mac Studio Display

The Mac Studio helped buoy Apple's PC shipments in Q1 2022.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Worldwide PC shipments fell by more than 7% during the first quarter of 2022 with 77.5 million total units shipped, according to preliminary numbers from analyst Gartner released on Monday. The main cause was a "steep drop" in demand for Chromebooks, Gartner said.

"After an unprecedented Chromebook surge in 2020 and early 2021, driven by demand from the US educational market, Chromebook growth has tempered," said Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner.

Without including Chromebooks in the numbers, PC shipments remained mostly flat, growing by just 3.3% since the same quarter last year. Business PC shipments rose thanks to hybrid working arrangements fueling a need for new desktops. 

Read also: Best Desktop PC for 2022

PC spending also dwindled as inflation hit. "The growing impact of upward inflationary pressure on discretionary spending has no doubt caused consumers to hold back on buying PCs," Kitagawa said.

Lenovo shipped the most PCs, at 18 million units, followed by HP on 15.9 million and Dell on 13.7 million. Apple came in fourth, with 7 million PCs shipped, and Asus and Acer rounding out the top six companies with 5.6 and 5.5 million, respectively.

Apple's momentum was thanks to the popularity of its new M1 Mac devices, Gartner said, including the new Mac Studio

The war in Ukraine also affected shipments. "Many PC vendors stopped shipping devices into Russia and demand in Ukraine collapsed," Kitagawa said.