The big picture: Shipments in 2022 showed declines across the entire tech industry, but the slump in desktop GPU sales might be historic. In a year with multiple major product launches, the dramatic drop in shipments likely stems from multiple factors. Despite the market-wide fall, Nvidia managed to significantly increase its market share.

In Jon Peddie's 2022 GPU market summary, Q3 shows the lowest desktop graphics card sales total since at least 2005. Like many other products, GPUs received a sales bump during 2020 and 2021 from remote-working customers, but the hangover looks especially hard for this market.

Intel, AMD, and Nvidia combined shipped just under 6.9 million discrete desktop graphics cards in Q3 2022, a 47 percent year-over-year drop. For comparison, the 2008 economic collapse caused a similar 46 percent decline from Q4 2007 (an all-time market high coinciding with the launch of Nvidia's legendary 8800 GT) to Q4 2008.

The 2022 plunge hit team red harder than team green. While Nvidia suffered a 40 percent year-over-year fall in discrete desktop GPU shipments, AMD fell 74 percent.

The post-lockdown slump that has affected PCs, tablets, smartphones, and other devices is a primary factor, but another is unique to GPUs – the end of crypto mining. Jon Peddie's data includes users who bought GPUs for mining Ethereum, which inflated sales and prices in recent years. 2022's crypto winter, combined with the Ethereum merge that ended GPU-based mining, significantly disrupted the market.

Nvidia and AMD launched new flagship GPUs this year, debuting the RTX 4000 and Radeon RX 7000 series, respectively, but only in the high-priced enthusiast segment. 2023 could see somewhat better sales depending on how the companies price the upcoming mainstream entries in those graphics card lines.

Intel's troubled entrance into the discrete graphics arena in 2022 with the Arc Alchemist series got the company up to 4 percent market share. Meanwhile, Nvidia's Q3 share shot up 10.2 percent year-over-year to 86 percent, squeezing AMD down to 10 percent market share – a 52 percent decline.

Most of the 2020 and 2021 spike in GPU shipments went to notebook graphics, which also saw the sharpest drop. Dedicated desktop graphics sales have gradually declined over the last two decades as laptop and integrated GPUs became good enough for growing numbers of consumers.