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European PC market bearing brunt of post-Covid slump

A perfect storm of geopolitics, inflation, exchange rates and supply chain problems are depressing PC sales in EMEA, says Billy MacInnes
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Image: energepic.com via Pexels

7 July 2022

July is barely getting started and already things seem to be taking a turn for the worse. Quite aside from the fact that I have finally succumbed to Covid-19 and the clouds and rain have come on their summer holidays to Donegal, it emerges that the PC market is starting to experience a decline after some spectacular gains during lockdown.

According to Gartner, global PC shipments are set to fall by 9.5% in 2022 and the PC market “is expected to experience the steepest decline of all device segments this year”.

Perhaps, like relentless rain in July in Donegal and more people catching Covid,  this shouldn’t be surprising. As Gartner senior director analyst Ranjit Atwal points out, there is “a perfect storm of geopolitics upheaval, high inflation, currency fluctuations and supply chain disruptions” that has lowered business and consumer demand for devices across the world.

 

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“Consumer PC demand is on pace to decline 13.1% in 2022 and will plummet much faster than business PC demand, which is expected to decline 7.2% year over year,” Atwal adds.

Unwillingly cast in the Donegal in summer role, EMEA is going to get it quite a lot worse, with “a 14% decline in 2022, driven by lack of consumer PC demand”.

In light of Gartner’s forecast, there were some interesting snippets in the TD Synnex conference call with analysts on its Q2 results a week earlier. Asked about the state of the PC market, CEO Rich Hume replied that commercial PCs were still enjoying “some pretty good demand” but the weakness was in the consumer side “at least for the foreseeable future”.

He appeared to back up Gartner’s suggestion that EMEA’s performance lagged the global market when he said the Americas market had enjoyed mid to high single digit growth, but Europe had “been bumping around flat overall”.

Overall, however, Hume noted that PCs were “moderating with a particular emphasis of the consumer segment being sort of weaker”. On the positive side, the advanced solutions part of the business, which covers data centre and infrastructure, was experiencing solid demand with higher growth rates.

In a separate interview with CRN, Hume explained that “during the pandemic, the advanced solutions were typically project deployments. And since people were not physically in [the office], a lot of that got deferred. So there’s been a pretty good level of pent-up demand that I think will be fulfilled throughout this year and the beginning of next year”.

There was also some interesting stuff about pricing. Asked whether he expected vendors to continue to raise prices, Hume noted there had been price changes over the last 12-18 months and they would continue “as we move forward” until the inflationary impact calmed down. “I think that they’ll ultimately start to abate,” he added.

While we wait for things to change for the better, the good news is that the sun has just come out in Donegal.

Mickey Mouse outfit

The other big early news of the month is that Mickey Mouse may be leaving Disney in 2024 after 95 years at the company since his breakthrough role in Steamboat Willie in November 1928. Under copyright laws, the company’s intellectual property rights to the famous rodent expire in under two years time.

The creation of Mickey was the crucial first step in the company’s journey from an insignificant animation business to today’s mass media and entertainment conglomerate. Which makes it ironic when people try to insult or demean an organisation by labelling it a ‘Mickey Mouse operation’ because they’re actually comparing it to a $67.4 billion business.

Talk about taking the mickey.

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