Arm Laptops to Remain Resilient Amid Global PC Market Weakness

  • We expect Arm-based Laptops to have a 25% market share in five years.
  • Apple dominated the Arm laptop market with a 90% share in 2022.
  • Qualcomm and MediaTek’s solutions could see over 50% growth YoY on Arm laptops in 2024-2025.
  • Arm-based solutions will gain more than 10% laptop market share by 2025 at Intel and AMD’s expense.

The global PC market has been experiencing a demand downtrend after the cooling down of COVID-19 in 2022. The market saw its shipments decline 15% YoY in 2022 and is expected to see another high single-digit decline in 2023, according to Counterpoint Research’s data. However, among all the PC sub-sectors, Arm-based laptops are expected to show a comparatively resilient demand throughout the coming quarters thanks to Apple’s success with the MacBook series, increasing ecosystem support and vanishing performance gap with x86 offerings.

Global Arm Laptop Shipments and YoY Growth

Counterpoint Research - Arm laptop shipment and yoy growth

Source: Counterpoint Research

Apple led the market with self-designed M-series solution

Apple launched its in-house M1 chip for the MacBook series in 2020. This gradually allowed iPhone and iPad apps to seamlessly operate on MacOS with state-of-the-art power consumption management and battery life among the M1 MacBook’s head-to-head competing features with the same level of computing performance. Since then, the market share of Arm-based laptops started to increase, from less than 2% to over 12% at the end of 2022, according to Counterpoint Research data. Apple dominated the Arm laptop market in 2022 with a 90% share. Apple’s migration to its self-designed CPU has proved to be a shot in the arm for vendors who were sitting on the fence looking forward to developing Arm-based solutions.

Qualcomm and MediaTek likely to follow in the near term

Major global CPU providers Qualcomm and MediaTek have also expressed their interest in Arm-based solutions. As the two are experienced smartphone CPU vendors, they have worked with the Arm ecosystem for many years. Therefore, it would not be a very difficult mission for them to include Arm-based laptops/PCs in their product road maps. Although there have been some delays due to reasons like component shortages, lawsuit and product development, the two chip design giants are expected to launch Arm-based laptop solutions no later than 2024 to support incremental demand. We expect Qualcomm and MediaTek’s solutions to see over 50% growth YoY on Arm laptops in 2024-2025.

Laptop Market Shipment Share by CPU

Counterpoint Research - Arm laptop market share

Source: Counterpoint Research

Arm-based laptops to gain share at Intel and AMD’s expense

However, the global PC market exited the expansion cycle in 2022 and is expected to see a shipment decline in 2023 again. Therefore, Arm’s share gains will inevitably come at the expense of mainly two other major vendors in the market – Intel and AMD. Based on our forecasts, we believe Arm could ultimately take around 25% share of the laptop market by the end of 2027. On the other hand, as the largest vendor in the PC market, Intel will suffer the most, losing almost 10% share to Arm solutions in five years. But it will still dominate the PC market with over 60% share.

Above all, we believe the market share of Arm-based PCs, especially laptops, could further expand in the coming years and penetrate a variety of sub-sectors. The Chromebook boom of 2020 was just the beginning. We are forecasting an increasing penetration rate of the Arm ecosystem with chip vendors working more closely with OEMs on product offerings. The rising consumer awareness of Arm’s competitiveness versus Intel’s long-lasting x86 could also support market share expansion. Ultimately, we believe Arm-based laptop solutions will have a higher than 21% share by the end of 2025.

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