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Why the pandemic PC boom could be over

PCs have enjoyed a surprising boom over the past couple years of the pandemic, but new reports are indicating that it might be coming to an end this year.

A dip in demand is now expected, according to a report by DigiTimes, with a normalization to pre-pandemic levels possible. The publication claims that PC manufacturers, however, are hoping to promote demand for PCswith lower prices. These sales could come despite consistently rising inflation and new supply chain issues.

A man sits while using a laptop running the Windows 11 operating system.
Windows 11

The expected demand dip would follow two healthy years for PC sales in 2020 and 2021. Amid the pandemic, the PC industry was initially uncertain and fearful about what the lack of workers in offices would do to their bottom lines, however, countless remote workers purchased new setups for their at-home offices, spurring a boom.

But now, as more workers shift back to work full time or even to a more hybrid work schedule, the need for elaborate home offices is dwindling in 2022, and demand for laptops is decreasing.

On the other hand, components makers are still concerned about keeping up with demand amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Recent reports indicate that prices of PC DRAM are slated to drop between 5% and 8% during the second quarter of 2022, as shipping components for manufacturing and retail won’t be a primary concern.

Researchers at TrendForce say that PC makers currently have enough DRAM stores to keep making computers for the time being, but there are many factors to take into consideration, such as how long the invasion might last and how long manufacturers can last on their stores before having to significantly replenish.

DigiTimes claims laptop sales will likely drop through the entirety of 2022, so device makers appear to understand that this is a slump year.

However, it’s not all bad news for the PC. The industry is also preparing for a rebound in 2023, according to the publication. Most components, such as notebook displays and DDR memories, have seen price declines to preserve their place in the market, not as result of low stores, according to Notebookcheck. Those components that have had slow stock, such as power management ICs (PMICs) and MOSFETs, are expected to be replenished by 2023.

Manufacturer Compal expects less demand for consumer and education notebooks and typical demand for gaming laptops, DigiTimes added.

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