First Quarter 2023 Notebook Sales Bring Halloween Scares Early

New market data paints a woeful picture of notebook sales in the fourth quarter of 2022 with no respite for the first quarter of this year. Consumer and enterprise demand basically tanked.

According to a DigiTimes’ research report, the world’s top 6 brands are all about to take a big hit in the first three months of 2023. Lenovo, number one, has six weeks of inventory in the channel is expected to see a drop of 15% driven by downturns in Europe and China. Second placed HP is looking at a 20% drop in shipments and its direct rival, Dell, number three on the list, may have handled its inventory a little better, and is only looking at a 10% drop in sales. Apple, number 4 on the list, faces a bigger plunge, according to DigiTimes, hampered by the higher cost of its models and no major hardware upgrades to drive the usual upgrade cycle from its devoted followers. Asustek and Acer round out the number five and six slots.

Inventory levels are not getting the adjustments that manufacturers had hoped because demand is weaker than they had anticipated, even as they had anticipated weak demand. Judging by the year end financial announcements that companies have been putting out these last few weeks, you’d have to be a cynic to think that there was some irrational exuberance and faith in fourth quarter numbers because no one wanted to give Wall Street any bad news before Christmas, and now we are seeing a steady stream of hand-wringing by execs, and layoffs, and serious cutbacks in spending.

That’s bound to spook consumers and enterprise buyers alike as they will just retreat into their shells knowing that things were worse for their suppliers than they expected. All the sales people at these suppliers have to convince their customers that it is safe to open up their wallets – the usual second half of the year is going to be when we get back to normal mantra – while executives are running around the company burning sage and singing eulogies. Someone needs to explain to me how that is all supposed to work for the better.

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