PC market sees highest growth levels in 10 years

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Worldwide PC shipments totalled 79.4 million units in the fourth quarter of 2020, a 10.7% increase from the fourth quarter of 2019, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. For the year, PC shipments reached 275 million units in 2020, a 4.8% increase from 2019 and the highest growth in ten years.

“The worldwide PC market saw a strong finish to 2020, recording a third consecutive quarter of year over year growth, although there continued to be supply shortages due to this high demand,” said Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner.

“Robust consumer PC demand again drove sales, particularly in regions where governments maintain stay-at-home orders as the COVID-19 pandemic persists. Prior to 2020, consumers had been shifting to a phone-first focus, yet the pandemic reversed this trend. PCs have resurfaced as an essential device as consumers, including younger children who are relying on them to for work, school, socialising and to be entertained from their homes.

“Business PC spending was again weaker this quarter, as the urgent purchases for remote work peaked earlier in the year. However, in certain regions like China where economic recovery from the pandemic has already begun, business growth was slightly stronger.”

While Gartner does not include Chromebook shipments in its traditional PC market results, the fourth quarter of 2020 was another remarkable period of growth for Chromebooks, with shipments increasing around 200% year over year to reach 11.7 million units. In 2020, Chromebook shipments increased over 80% to total nearly 30 million units, largely due to demand from the North American education market.

The top three vendors in the worldwide PC market remained unchanged from the previous quarter, although Lenovo continued to widen its lead over HP. Reflecting the trend seen throughout 2020, consumer-oriented vendors such as Apple, Acer and Asus gained market share (see Table 1)

Total PC shipments in EMEA (Europe Middle East Africa) reached 23 million units in the fourth quarter of 2020, an increase of 6.9% year over year, while Asia Pacific reached 25 million units, an 8.3% year over year growth. Consumer demand in both EMEA and Asia Pacific countries was particularly strong. Stabilised business PC spending due to China’s economic recovery also helped drive the strong growth in Asia Pacific.

Table 1. Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 4Q20 (Thousands of Units)

Company 4Q20 Shipments 4Q20 Market Share (%) 4Q19 Shipments 4Q19 Market Share (%) 4Q20-4Q19 Growth (%)
Lenovo 21,491 27.1 17,713 24.7 21.3
HP Inc. 15,683 19.8 16,155 22.5 -2.9
Dell 13,199 16.6 12,127 16.9 8.8
Apple 6,893 8.7 5,250 7.3 31.3
Acer Group 4,741 6.0 4,035 5.6 17.5
ASUS 4,570 5.8 3,975 5.5 15.0
Others 12,813 16.1 12,493 17.4 2.6
Total  79,392 100.0 71,749 100.0 10.7

Notes: Data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs and ultramobile premiums (such as Microsoft Surface), but not Chromebooks or iPads. All data is estimated based on a preliminary study. Final estimates will be subject to change. The statistics are based on shipments selling into channels. Numbers may not add up to totals shown due to rounding.

Source: Gartner (January 2021)

Chris Price
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