PC market has banner Q3 due to COVID-19

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Wednesday, 14 October, 2020

PC market has banner Q3 due to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the strongest demand for PC devices for at least the last five years during the third quarter, according to the estimates of two separate research firms.

IDC estimates that the global market for traditional PC devices — comprising desktops, notebooks and workstations — surged 14.6% year-on-year in the third quarter to 81.3m units as many nations dealt with the second wave of the pandemic and associated lockdowns.

Demand was somewhat more muted in Asia–Pacific excluding Japan, with only a single-digit increase in shipments, but the results were still ahead of IDC’s previous forecast.

Market leader Lenovo recorded an 11.3% growth in unit sales, with second-ranked HP achieving a similar 11.2% growth. But third-ranked Dell saw shipments decline by 0.8%, IDC said.

Apple and Acer also had strong quarters, with year-on-year growth of 38.9% and 29.3% respectively.

IDC Research Manager for Mobile Devices Jitesh Ubrani said consumer and organisational demand for these devices approached record levels in some cases.

“Gaming, Chromebooks and in some cases cellular-enabled notebooks were all bright spots during the quarter. Had the market not been hampered by component shortages, notebook shipments would have soared even higher during the third quarter as market appetite was yet unsatiated,” he said.

But these component shortages, affecting processors, panels and other subcomponents, resulted in a sizeable backlog of unfulfilled orders. This backlog is expected to carry into 2021, further impacting unit shipments.

Meanwhile, Gartner delivered a more conservative estimate, asserting that unit shipments grew 3.6% during the quarter to 71.4 million. But this still represents the strongest consumer PC demand that Gartner has seen in the last five years, Gartner Research Director Mikako Kitagawa said.

“The market is no longer being measured in the number of PCs per household; rather, the dynamics have shifted to account for one PC per person,” she said.

“While PC supply chain disruptions tied to the COVID-19 pandemic have been largely resolved, this quarter saw shortages of key components, such as panels, as a result of this high consumer demand.”

Gartner estimated that Asia–Pacific unit shipments grew by 3.3% year-on-year, and a strong 16.5% quarter-on-quarter, partly as a result of Chinese public and private sector buyers resuming procurement that was postponed in the first quarter of the year.

Lenovo increased its shipments by 8.3% year-on-year, with HP increasing shipments by 0.7%, Gartner said. Dell shipments fell an estimated 4.6%, with Apple shipments up 7.3% and Acer shipments surging 29.5%.

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