Apple's PC sales take a dip

In the early 2000s, the demand for Apple's Mac computers was off the charts.

Apple's PC sales take a dip
Logo of an Apple store is seen as Apple Inc. reports fourth quarter earnings in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2022. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

The backstory: In the early 2000s, the demand for Apple's Mac computers was off the charts, and the tech giant struggled to keep up. But today, things are different. The once-booming smartphone industry is now seeing a plunge in shipments. The reason? People are spending less, and there are now too many memory chips around.

More recently: It's been a bumpy ride for Apple in the PC market. In February, Apple CFO Luca Maestri predicted a double-digit decrease in Mac revenue for the first quarter of 2023. And Apple CEO Tim Cook also acknowledged the tough economic situation.

Over on the Samsung front, things aren't looking too rosy, either. Last week, the electronics giant announced plans to reduce memory chip production and reported its smallest profit since the 2009 financial crisis.

The development: According to research firm IDC, in this year's first quarter, there was a massive drop in personal computer shipments for Apple. We're talking over 40% here, the biggest decline since the year 2000. But it wasn't just Apple. All the major PC makers, like Lenovo, Dell, HP, and Asustek, saw a 29% drop in shipments combined.

But there's some hope on the horizon. Rumor has it that Apple is gearing up to release some new models, like a fresh iMac, that could help turn things around. And according to IDC, the PC market could start to rebound in 2024 as people upgrade their old hardware and the global economy picks up.

Key comments:

"We're talking about adjusting some knobs, not some sort of wholesale, fundamental change," said Apple CEO Tim Cook in an interview aired in February on Fox Business.

"Even with heavy discounting, channels and PC makers can expect elevated inventory to persist into the middle of the year and potentially into the third quarter," said researcher Jitesh Ubrani in a report released by IDC.

"Supply chain shortages are no longer the most pressing issue as component orders are being cut rapidly and suppliers have started to be concerned about oversupply," wrote Canalys analyst Toby Zhu in a report last year. "Geopolitical issues, a dip in consumer confidence and high inflation will continue to damage future market performance, despite upcoming new launches and festival sales in the second half of 2022."