Global PC shipments experienced an upturn, growing by approximately 3% year-over-year (YoY) in the first quarter of 2024, marking a significant reversal from eight consecutive quarters of decline, as per data latest report by Counterpoint Research. The primary cause of this decline stemmed from a slowdown in demand and inventory correction.

The growth observed in Q1 2024 is particularly noteworthy as it emerged from a relatively low base recorded in the same quarter of the previous year, 2023. The report projects that this positive momentum will persist throughout the remaining quarters of 2024, culminating in a 3% YoY growth for the full year. Key drivers of this growth trajectory include the impetus from AI-powered PCs, resurgence in shipments across various sectors, and an impending replacement cycle.

Notably, the top-five brand rankings in the PC market remained unchanged YoY, with industry stalwarts such as Lenovo and Acer demonstrating resilience amid the evolving market dynamics. Lenovo, in particular, exhibited an 8% increase in PC shipments during Q1 2024, reclaiming its 24% market share compared to 23% in the corresponding period of 2023, as per the report.

HP and Dell, commanding market shares of 21% and 16% respectively, maintained a steady performance, anticipating a surge in shipment growth fueled by North American markets in the forthcoming quarters. Apple also showcased resilience, recording a 2% growth primarily supported by its M3 base models.

Looking ahead, industry observers foresee a pivotal role for AI PCs in shaping the trajectory of the PC market in 2024 and beyond. Manufacturers are anticipated to pivot towards promoting AI PCs as their flagship offerings, particularly in the second half of 2024.

This shift aligns with semiconductor companies gearing up to introduce System-on-Chips (SoCs) featuring higher Terabytes Operations Per Second (TOPS), enhancing the capabilities of AI-powered computing devices.

William Li, senior analyst emphasised the significance of AI PCs, noting that approximately 45% of new laptops shipped in 2024 will possess AI capabilities. Li further projected an acceleration in the shipment and deployment of generative AI laptops in the subsequent years.

“We believe the shipment and deployment of generative AI laptops will accelerate in 2025-2026, along with emerging generative AI functions and use cases, supported by chip vendors’ new processor platforms,” Li added.

The broader context of inventory normalisation and the conclusion of the replacement cycle following heightened demand during the COVID-19 pandemic sets the stage for AI laptops to serve as a catalyst in driving overall PC shipment recovery in 2024.

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