Oof. Desktop GPU sales are down almost 40% year-to-year
If you keep up with the chatter on PC building forums, you’ve probably sensed the current apathy toward discrete graphics cards. Now there’s data to back up that gut impression. A new report from analysts at Jon Peddie Research shows a nearly 13 percent drop in shipments in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the previous quarter—and almost a 40 percent drop year to year.
Released Wednesday, the numbers show interest in graphics cards at its lowest point in the past decade. Shipments fell by 12.6 percent from the previous quarter, decreasing from 7.16 million units in Q4 2022 to 6.3 million units in Q1 2023, and continuing the steady tumble during 2022. The year-to-year decline is startling: Compared to the same period in 2022, shipments dropped a whopping 38.2 percent.
Jon Peddie Research
The percentage of discrete graphics cards in PCs is also down 21 percent year-to-year, despite a modest uptick in that attach rate compared to the previous quarter. Given that AMD and Nvidia had yet to launch mainstream GPUs during Q1 2023, many folks were still on the sidelines waiting to finally upgrade their existing cards.
Each of the three major GPU vendors is affected differently, with Nvidia seeing a double-digit decrease of 15.2 percent. (Don’t cry for the company, though—it still has 83.7 percent of the graphics market, and recently just hit a market capitalization of $1 trillion.) AMD’s shipments declined by 7.5 percent with no change to its market share, while Intel actually expanded its hold on the market by 2 percent.
Interestingly, this news follows closely behind another Peddie report about the broader graphics market—one in which the analysts predict that the percentage of discrete graphics cards in PCs will grow to 34 percent over the next five years. But not before some lingering pain for each of the big tech giants. Notebook graphics plummeted 45 percent year-to-year in Q1 2023, and the overall GPU market was down by 43 percent year-to-year. Meanwhile, on the other side of the fence, CPU shipments dipped 15.6 percent from Q4 2022, and a hefty 38.8 percent year-to-year.
Jon Peddie Research
Jon Peddie, founder and president of Jon Peddie Research, attributes the decline to inflation worries and layoffs, plus lingering stock of last-generation graphics cards that retailers are still offloading. (Can’t blame anyone for snapping up an Nvidia GeForce RTX 30-series card or AMD Radeon RX 6000 series card at a decent discount instead of the much-more expensive current-gen GPUs.) But even as the overstock of older cards clears, Peddie still predicts depressed interest for the short term: “Q2 is traditionally a down quarter, and the year won’t be any different, but probably not as severe as might be expected.” By Q3 and Q4 2023, shipments of graphics cards should improve, especially with mainstream graphics cards now available for both AMD and Nvidia’s current-generation GPU lineups.
The outstanding question is if PC gamers will find an appetite for those cards. So far, neither Nvidia or AMD have captivated people into eagerly handing over money for the latest GPUs. The GeForce RTX 4060 Ti received a harsh reception upon its launch, and the Radeon RX 7600 got mixed feedback from reviewers. Time will tell if these analyst predictions are accurate—or if people will continue to vote with their wallets.