The PC market rebounded final yr, sporting the best progress charge in a decade, business analysts stated this week, pinning credit score (or blame) on the coronavirus pandemic.
Analysis agency IDC pegged 2020’s world shipments of private computer systems at 302.6 million units, a 13% improve over the yr prior, which represented the biggest annual achieve since 2010. The cargo quantity was the biggest since 2014, stated Jitesh Ubrani, analysis supervisor with IDC’s cellular machine trackers crew, in an interview.
The turnaround was hanging: Of the previous 10 years, six noticed year-over-year declines whereas one had been flat.
Gartner Analysis, an IDC rival, additionally claimed a notable increase in PC shipments. Although Gartner’s numbers for 2020 differed from IDC’s — the previous agency stated final yr’s improve was slightly below 5%, lower than half IDC’s — it agreed that that progress was the best measured since 2010.
The distinction between IDC’s and Gartner’s complete shipments for the yr — 302 million and 275 million, respectively — was largely because of the former counting Chromebooks as private computer systems, whereas the latter didn’t.
“Numerous quantity early within the yr was as a result of firms had folks working at dwelling,” stated Ubrani, reflecting on the spring months, when companies worldwide first shuttered, then requested staff to do business from home. Enterprises, Ubrani stated, bought giant numbers of laptops to equip these suddenly-remote employees, the gross sales quantity at instances ample to fully throttle the element provide chain.
Faculty districts quickly added their PC calls for to the rising refrain as many tried to equip their college students with units — low-cost laptops in virtually all instances — in order that kids may be taught remotely. “Faculty programs weren’t used to one-for-one,” Ubrani stated, referring to PC-to-student ratios. “They have been used to college students sharing laptops.”
A 3rd group — households with school-aged kids — joined in on the rush-to-PCs, including machines to the family when faculty districts didn’t (or just couldn’t) step in.
“Past the enterprise and academic [markets], there was lots of power within the shopper market,” stated Ubrani, citing not solely the need of households to provide every youngster their very own pocket book but in addition a rise in curiosity in gaming-centric PCs. Hunkered down at dwelling for lengthy stretches of lockdowns and quarantine, households wanted leisure distractions; some solved that by shopping for not solely PC gaming rigs but in addition spending extra on sport titles.
Customers additionally rediscovered PCs up to now 9 months, Ubrani stated. “A lot of them had gone years since shopping for a PC,” he famous, and as at-home orders lengthened — or returned — realized their outdated machines did not reduce it in gaming, crafts or different initiatives. “They discovered they wanted a brand new machine.”
The PC business benefited from the pains suffered by different areas of the financial system, Ubrani contended. Some households and people had extra disposable earnings accessible through the pandemic as a result of they weren’t spending the standard quantities on journey, say, or eating or out-of-the-house leisure.
The truth is, Ubrani anticipated that shopper PC shopping for would proceed to get better from the previous decade, when many — together with some right here at Computerworld have been writing off that market as not solely moribund but in addition purposeless within the face of smartphones and tablets. “I feel this exhibits that there was a resetting and rethinking of the significance of PCs” for shoppers, Ubrani stated.
Macs on the march, Chromebook shipments skyrocket 80%
Lenovo, HP, Dell, Apple and Acer booked the biggest PC cargo numbers for 2020 (and in that order), IDC reported. Gartner’s numbers have been preliminaries, like IDC’s, and ranked the distributors in the identical order, albeit with completely different year-end tallies.
Apple simply took honors because the Huge 5 vendor with the best year-over-year progress charge in 2020, posting a 29% achieve by IDC’s information and a 23% improve in Gartner’s estimate. IDC pegged Apple’s shipments at 23.1 million for the yr; Gartner tapped it as 22.5 million.
Chromebooks, the label utilized to laptops powered by Google’s Chrome browser-based working system (Chrome OS), additionally surged in 2020, analysts stated.
Gartner stated that the December 2020 quarter witnessed a 200% year-over-year improve in Chromebook shipments, reaching 11.7 million models. Over the course of the total yr, Chromebook shipments grew by greater than 80%, completely almost 30 million.
IDC put Chromebook laptop computer shipments at 19.6 million by the tip of the September quarter, or analogous to Gartner’s rely for a similar nine-month stretch. (Numbers have been nonetheless being tabulated for the December 2020 quarter, Ubrani stated.)
“Demand is pushing the PC market ahead and all indicators point out this surge nonetheless has a method to go,” stated Ryan Reith of IDC, who leads the agency’s cellular machine trackers group, in an announcement. “On reflection, the pandemic not solely fueled PC market demand but in addition created alternatives that resulted in a market enlargement.”
Ubrani agreed. Though he expects a slight slowdown in shipments to companies throughout 2021, shopper shipments are projected to extend by 2024. “We’ll see lots of demand in 2021 as a result of a few of that went unfulfilled [in 2020]. These orders slipped from the tip of 2020 into early 2021,” Ubrani stated.