The little green men left and took their PCs with them

For some reason they didn’t like the Apple machines and left them

Jon Peddie

You remember a year ago when the headlines read: PC shipments show continued strength in Q1 2021 despite component shortages?

Here at JPR, we scratched out heads and said, “Continued strength? Huh? Did a million new users suddenly pop up? Have we had an alien invasion? And then in we read: Traditional PCs, inclusive of desktops, notebooks, and workstations, reached 86.7 million units during the third quarter of 2021 (3Q21), up 3.9% from the prior year. 

Really? You think little green men just landed on Earth and are buying PCs? Where did the new customers come from???? Come on, guys, we said, surely you know this is a surge, not a trend. Your superexpensive research firms must know that, don’t they?

Guess not.

Guess none of them had been around before 2015. It’s a whole new world to them.

Imagine their disappointment when their counters reported global shipments of traditional PCs, including desktops, notebooks, and workstations, declined 5.1% in the first quarter of 2022.

Wait a minute, where did all those new buyers go? Please come back (I think one of them was named Shane*).

Well, kids, it's just like the emperor’s new clothes—they were never there—you and your hungry clients just wanted them to be there. So, you told your clients what they wanted to hear, and what their investors wanted to hear, and so share prices went up, and everyone got bonuses. Everyone was happy, except for the poor saps who bought high, thinking the train ride wouldn’t end. But it did, as they all do.

And what did we learn from all this? What did we learn about the crypto gold rush? What did we learn from all those Chromebook sales that were forecasted to be a growth market over the next five years and fizzled?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It’s like what PT Barnum said, “There's a sucker born every minute.”

Try not to be that guy. Remember what grandma said: “If it sounds too good to be true—then it is.” 

* (Millennials and Gen Z test)