Another sign that PC demand is cooling is that desktop CPU shipments have historically plummeted in the first quarter, according to Mercury Research, which tracks parts sales.
During this period, CPU shipments of x86 processors declined quarter-over-quarter across PCs and servers. However, the decline was particularly high in desktop processor shipments, which declined more than 30% QoQ.
According to Dean McCarron, president of Mercury Research, the decline represents “the worst quarterly decline in desktop CPU shipments in history.”
However, looking at the year-over-year figures, the sharp 30% decline is not so surprising. “It’s down more than 11% over the year,” McCarron said in an email.
Mercury Research attributed the drop in shipments to “excessive desktop CPU inventory” and the normal seasonal downturn between January and March. The findings reflect Intel’s Q1 earnings report that many PC makers have focused on selling existing product inventories rather than ordering new chips due to inflationary pressures. In early March, AMD and Intel also stopped selling chips to Russia and Belarus after the invasion of Ukraine.
PC sales have declined for nearly two years after the market surged in computing demand for COVID-19 resulting in a surge in the need to work and study from home. Despite the recession, Mercury Research says the average selling price of notebook and desktop CPUs hit a new high in the first quarter, thanks to high-end processors on the market.
AMD also continued to expand its dominance in the x86 CPU market over Intel. “AMD increased its share in the first quarter to 27.7%, breaking the previous quarter’s high of 25.6%,” McCarron said.
The 27.7% figure includes AMD’s chip shipments for video game consoles. For desktop x86 CPUs, AMD accounted for 18.3% and Intel had 81.7%. This happened when Intel sold its 12th Gen “Alder Lake” desktop CPUs that it launched for positive reviews in November.
“Intel’s desktop growth rate was higher than AMD’s year-over-year, so Intel gained share in desktop CPUs compared to a year ago,” McCarron said.
When it comes to laptops, AMD’s share has risen from 18% a year ago to 22.5%. “AMD saw a significant increase in commercial notebook systems in the PC census, which may have explained AMD’s modest decline,” he said. “AMD’s mobile share is a new record for the company.”