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A new MacBook Air running M2 chip is seen displayed during Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California, June 6, 2022.
Peter Dasilva | Reuters

Apple’s worldwide computer shipments fell 40.5% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2023, amid a broader contraction in consumer demand, according to research firm IDC.

All five of the largest computer makers — Apple, ASUS, Dell, HP and Lenovo — saw double-digit drops in first-quarter shipments, reflecting weaker demand and persistent inventory woes. But Apple’s decline was the biggest of the bunch.

Apple’s worldwide PC market share fell between the first quarter of 2022 to the first quarter of 2023, from 7.2% to 8.6%, according to IDC data. The company shipped 2.8 million fewer devices year-over-year in the first quarter of 2023, according to IDC.

It’s not entirely unexpected. Apple chief financial officer Luca Maestri said in February that Apple expected double-digit declines in Mac and iPad sales from the year-earlier period for the March quarter. Mac revenue dipped 28.66% year-over-year during the December quarter. Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the time that the challenging macroeconomic environment impacted iPhone, Mac and Apple Watch sales.

Apple shares were down slightly over 1% in pre-market trading Monday.

“The preliminary results also represented a coda to the era of COVID-driven demand and at least a temporary return to pre-COVID patterns,” IDC said.

“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,” IDC researcher Jitesh Ubrani said in the report.

PC manufacturers will suffer in the near term, the IDC report said, with growth expected to pick back up by year-end.

There is potential upside for PC manufacturers, IDC said. Weakened demand gives companies a chance to finish “rejigging their plans” and iron out supply chain kinks. That breathing space will be quite helpful to companies like Apple, which has started to push suppliers and assemblers to move their operations beyond China.

An Apple spokesperson wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Apple will report its March quarter earnings on May 4.

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