Graphics card shipments cratered by 50% at the end of 2022

AMD RX 7900 XT with its original packaging.
(Image credit: Future)

This isn't the most surprising revelation, but the numbers are still eye popping. According to long-time graphics market soothsayers JPR, graphics card shipments dropped from 26 million in the last quarter of 2021 to 13 million for the same period last year.

That's an epic 50% drop, year-on-year. Admittedly, the final quarter of last year didn't fully see the benefit of Nvidia and AMD's new GPU launches. Nvidia's new RTX 40-series only appeared in mid October, with the marginally more mainstream RTX 4070 Ti not rolling out until early this year.

Likewise, AMD's RX 7900 series, led by the AMD RX 7900 XTX, were only released in mid December, so will barely feature in the numbers at all. But those caveats aside, we are still looking at a precipitous drop in GPU numbers at the end of last year versus the same quarter in 2021.

We've documented the reasons why often enough before. 2020 and 2021 saw a perfect storm of demand driven by rampant ethereum mining on GPUs, pent up demand from a disappointing previous generation of GPUs from Nvidia and AMD, and finally the distortions of stay-at-home directives during the pandemic.

The total net result of which was an explosion in demand for Nvidia's RTX 30-series and AMD RX 6000 GPUs and prices increasing to multiples of the recommended retail figure for an extended period.

Overall sales of GPUs fell by 38% over the same period, but that includes integrated and embedded GPUs, neither of which are usually gaming relevant. You do get the odd exception, such as the Steam Deck's integrated graphics.

If that all sounds like bad news, there was a small uptick in discrete graphics card sales of 7.8% from Q3 to Q4 2022. JPR says that Q4 in any given year is typically flat versus Q3. So, perhaps the tide is turning.

Of course, it's up for debate whether slack demand is a good or bad thing in the short term. We could argue that low demand for a few more quarters will help convinced Nvidia and AMD to adjust their currently painful pricing.

Already we're seeing AMD's RX 7900 XT drop well below MSRP. Here's hoping prices continue to slide. But at some point demand does need to pick up if the PC is to remain the vibrant gaming platform we know and love.

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Jeremy Laird
Hardware writer

Jeremy has been writing about technology and PCs since the 90nm Netburst era (Google it!) and enjoys nothing more than a serious dissertation on the finer points of monitor input lag and overshoot followed by a forensic examination of advanced lithography. Or maybe he just likes machines that go “ping!” He also has a thing for tennis and cars.