With the benefit of a little distance, various outlets have begun looking at what 2022 meant for the PC industry. According to DigiTimes’ numbers, 2022 was a notably awful year for motherboard shipments–even worse than 2018, as shipments fell across the board by around 10 million units. This impacted the four biggest manufacturers to varying degrees, with MSI and ASRock taking the biggest hits.
DigiTimes’ sources say the causes of the shipment slide are the usual suspects: the economy, the end of crypto mining, and workers returning to the office. We’d add a fourth reason to that list, which is motherboards became crazy expensive all of a sudden. AMD X670 and Intel Z790 boards shocked gamers with their prices at launch, as they started at around $300. Some god-tier motherboards are over $600 and beyond, which is hard to swallow. We’re not sure if that played an actual role in limiting sales, but that was just what we saw at the end of the year.
The report lists motherboard shipments for the four largest manufacturers. That includes Asus and Gigabyte as number one and two, with MSI and ASRock being three and four in size. The top two companies felt the least impact from the slump. Gigabyte’s shipments only dropped 14% from 11 million to 9.5 million. Asus took a 25% hit, going from 18 million to 13.6 million. Incredibly, that’s less than half the decline experienced by ASRock, which saw shipments drop by 55%. It reportedly shipped around six million mobos in 2021 and just 2.7 million in 2022. MSI also had a dreadful year, with its numbers dropping by 45%.
The previous two years saw soaring revenue for every company in the PC industry. When the pandemic began to ease up, people just stopped buying components, it seems. One way this hurt motherboard manufacturers is they were no longer able to bundle GPUs with mainboards. That was a relic of the pandemic era that annoyed everyone, and hopefully, it never returns.
Still, the numbers are a bit of a surprise, as they suggest people didn’t upgrade when the new hardware arrived in the final quarter. Intel had all-new Z790 boards on offer, but since 600-series motherboards were compatible, there wasn’t a compelling reason to upgrade. AMD’s Zen 4 family, on the other hand, required an upgrade since it had a new AM5 socket. People also had to buy expensive DDR5 memory. That made building a new AMD rig an expensive proposition, so we’re not surprised people held off. Gamers were also waiting for its X3D CPUs to launch as well.
This is just the latest in a string of dire reports regarding the PC industry heading into 2023. It was previously reported that CPU sales hit a 30-year low in the fourth quarter of 2022. Weak sales for PC parts are expected to continue into the first half of this year. However, all the companies involved are expecting a turnaround later in 2023. Whether that’s due to the market stabilizing or prices going down is not clear.
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