PC shipment growth rates at 10 year high as Covid-19 keep workers, students at home

Lenovo, the No 1 PC brand with a share of 23.7 per cent, saw 11.3 per cent growth in computer shipments in the third quarter.
PHOTO: South China Morning Post

The global PC market has posted back-to-back quarterly double digit growth rates as corporations and schools continue to invest in the transition to remote working and learning amid second and third waves of Covid-19 in many countries.

Global shipments of traditional PCs - comprising desktops, notebooks and workstations - grew 14.6 per cent year on year to 81.3 million units in the September quarter even as many vendors missed opportunities due to a sizeable backlog of unfulfilled orders, according to market research firm IDC.

“Consumer demand and institutional demand approached record levels in some cases,” said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC’s mobile device trackers. “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.”

In the second quarter global PC shipments grew 11.2 per cent year on year to 72.3 million units, according to IDC.

As the global pandemic rages on, continuity of business and online education remain at the forefront in many countries, a trend that has paid off for many PC vendors.

China’s Lenovo, the No 1 brand with a share of 23.7 per cent, saw 11.3 per cent growth in the third quarter as shipments surpassed 17.3 million. US vendor HP posted similar growth of 11.2 per cent to take second spot with 16.8 million units shipped, IDC’s data showed.

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However Dell, in No 3 spot, suffered a small decline of 0.8 per cent in year on year shipments. Apple and Acer rounded out the top five rankings, posting the strongest growth of 38.9 per cent and 29.3 per cent respectively.

In terms of regional growth, the US and Latin America both posted double-digit gains in the period while Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) and Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) recorded a single-digit increase in shipments, IDC said.

“The PC industry rode into the third quarter with a sizeable backlog of unfulfilled orders,” said Linn Huang, research vice-president of devices and displays at IDC. “Given that the shortages have been due more to a shortfall in business planning than a technical glitch, we do not anticipate a sudden surge in capacity. Consequently, this backlog will likely carry into 2021.”

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Separately, research firm Canalys estimated that global PC shipments grew 13 per cent year on year to 79.2 million units in the latest quarter, the sector’s highest growth rate since 2011, according to a report published last Friday.

“The lasting effects of this pandemic on the way people work, learn and collaborate will create significant opportunities for PC vendors in the coming years,” said Canalys research director Rushabh Doshi. “Beyond the PC itself, there will be an increased need for collaboration accessories, new services, subscription packages and a strong focus on endpoint security.”

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This article was first published in South China Morning Post.