Desktop processors: Lowest sales since 1993

AMD and Intel are struggling with high inventory levels. AMD’s CPU market shares rose only because sales have been less slumped than Intel’s.

The bad business figures have already indicated it, and now comes the confirmation from the market observer Mercury Research: AMD and Intel’s processor sales reached a new low at the beginning of 2023. This is particularly evident in the desktop models: “Desktop CPU shipments fell to their lowest level in almost 30 years – we had to go back to 1993 to find fewer desktop CPUs shipped than in the first quarter [2023]”, is it [called.

AMD only regained market share from January through March because sales didn’t slump as much as Intel’s. The proportion of desktop CPUs rose somewhat to 19.2 percent, and 18 percent for server models – a new high for AMD.

AMD’s x86 CPU market shares broken down by segment (Source: Mercury Research)
quarterQ1 2023Q4 2022Q1 2022
x86 total (including consoles, IoT)34.6%31.3%27.7%
x86 total (excl. consoles, IoT)17.2%17.2%20.2%

As usual, Mercury Research also includes network and edge systems in the server models, where AMD has traditionally been weak. AMD’s market share is usually higher for classic 1 and 2-socket servers.

Meanwhile, the distribution of notebook processors remained largely stable, with AMD falling minimally to 16.2 percent compared to the end of 2022.

Market correction

However, Mercury Research warns that market shares may be skewed due to high inventories since the company evaluates sales to intermediate retailers. The market should recover in the second half of the year so that the figures could become more reliable again.

Currently, the Ryzen processors are an increasingly bad deal for AMD. At Intel, on the other hand, the server division with the Xeon CPUs recently fell into the red. Memory manufacturers are even more affected by the current market correction – the world market leaders Samsung, SK Hynix, and Micron are currently making billions in losses.

Uphill thanks to consoles

Meanwhile, AMD brings in a steady flow of money from the semi-custom division, which designed the processors for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and the Steam Deck, among other things. Thanks only to these models, AMD’s overall x86 market share increased from 31.3 to 34.6 percent within one quarter. Sony’s PS5 in particular is currently selling fabulously. Excluding consoles and IoT devices, AMD only had about half the total x86 market share.

Meanwhile, Mercury Research estimates that ARM’s PC client market share rose to a record high of 14.8 percent. The market observer counts notebooks and desktop PCs with ARM processors, i.e. primarily Chromebooks. It should also be the ones that drove up the market share, from 13.3 percent at the end of 2022. Apple’s MacBook sales, on the other hand, are said to have fallen.


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