Dell Technologies saw its revenue fall 20% in the first quarter, but lower operating expenses enabled it to handily beat expectations.

The company reported first quarter earnings of 79 cents a share on revenue of $20.9 billion, down 20% from a year ago. Non-GAAP earnings in the first quarter were $1.31 a share.

Wall Street was expecting Dell Technologies to report first quarter non-GAAP earnings of 85 cents a share on revenue of $20.27 billion.

Also see: 

The company said it maintained pricing discipline, cut operating expenses and benefited from a normalized supply chain. 

In prepared remarks, Chuck Whitten, co-Chief Operating Officer at Dell Technologies, said:

"We continued to see demand softness across our major lines of business, all regions, all customer sizes, and most verticals. In what was a challenging demand backdrop, we executed extremely well and stayed focused on what we could control. Looking ahead, we expect the cautious IT spending environment to continue in Q2."

Whitten said he expects demand to be muted for infrastructure and PCs with some pockets of stabilization. 

Even with better-than-expected results, Dell Technologies' core units saw revenue declines. By the numbers:

  • The Infrastructure Solutions Group had revenue of $7.6 billion, down 18%. Storage revenue was $3.8 billion, and servers and networking sales were $3.8 billion. Operating income for the unit was $740 million.
  • Client Solutions Group had revenue of $12 billion, down 23%. Commercial revenue was $9.9 billion of that sum. Operating income was $892 million. Commercial revenue was down 18% and consumer revenue fell 41%.