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While GPU demand remains high, graphics card sales drop by almost 20%

Although many desktop users all over the globe are still hunting for one of the best graphics cards, market analysis shows a large drop in GPU sales.

According to Jon Peddie Research, a firm that specializes in tech industry analysis, graphics card sales dropped by 18.2% compared to the previous quarter. On the other hand, comparing sales to the previous year still shows massive growth that speaks volumes about current demand.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 Series
Nvidia

The statistics apply to PC-based graphics cards. Over 101 million GPUs have been shipped as of the third quarter of 2021. Those are massive numbers, especially when taking the ongoing graphics card shortage into consideration. These sales mark a 12% year-over-year growth, continuing the upward trend affecting most of the PC market.

While yearly sales have gone up, quarterly results took a huge dive. Compared to the second quarter of 2021, GPU shipments dropped by 18.2% in the third quarter of this year. This quarter used to be the strongest in terms of hardware sales, but all of the previous statistics have been thrown out the window due to various supply chain issues, shortages, and of course, the ongoing pandemic. Even accounting for the current situation in the world, a drop of 18.2% is massive and far above the 10-year average of -5.2%.

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The GPU market continues to be a two-horse race between Nvidia and AMD. Intel is gearing up to join the battle with its upcoming Intel Arc Alchemist line, but until then, the manufacturer has almost no market share when it comes to discrete graphics cards. As such, all of these numbers apply almost oolely to Nvidia and AMD.

Jon Peddie Research reports that over the last quarter, AMD and Nvidia both maintained the same market share that they held in the second quarter: Nvidia holds 83% of GPU sales, and the rest belongs to AMD. However, year-over-year, Nvidia increased its lead by 3%, leaving AMD further behind.

Promotional image of an AMD Radeon RX 6000-series graphics card.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The above applies to discrete GPUs, but Intel does play a part in the overall GPU attach rate. Overall GPU attach rate includes both integrated and discrete units, desktop GPUs, laptop models, and those installed in workstations. Jon Peddie Research reported that the attach rate for the last quarter was 125%, which is a 7.6% increase compared to the second quarter of 2021. Despite the overall increase in sales, only Nvidia managed to grow its market share in this section by 8%. AMD saw a decline of 11.4%, but that’s still not too bad when compared to Intel’s -25.6% drop.

The huge dip in quarter-to-quarter sales is not as surprising as it might seem. The chip shortage is not getting any better: Getting a graphics card at MSRP is a small miracle. As prices reach outrageous levels, many opt to not buy a GPU or choose to buy a used unit. Throw into that various supply chain issues and limited availability of graphics cards, and all of it adds up to a bad quarter for sales.

Recent rumors reveal that AMD may be working on new budget graphics cards. Nvidia is readying RTX 4000-Series GPUs for next year, and Intel has its Arc Alchemist line in the works. Perhaps the new releases will help GPU sales rebound, but the GPU shortage itself is likely to persist throughout 2022.

Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
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