PC shipments achieve fastest quarterly growth in 20 years

Photo: EPA A visitor inspects Microsoft Surface Laptop Go at a computer show and sales event Commart Thailand 2021

Global shipments of personal computers rose at their fastest pace in two decades in the first quarter as people bought computers to help them work and study remotely during the COVID-19 crisis, according to research firm Gartner Inc.

"PC shipments, which include both laptops and desktop computers, grew 32% in the quarter to 69.9 million units," the company said in its report.

Of those, China’s Lenovo Group Ltd grabbed the lead with a 25.1% market share, followed by HP Inc, Dell Technologies Inc, Apple Inc and Acer Group. This coincides with preliminary results from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. 

“This growth should be viewed in the context of two unique factors: comparisons against a pandemic-constrained market and the current global semiconductor shortage,” said Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner.

“Without the shipment chaos in early 2020, this quarter’s growth may have been lower,” he added

The coronavirus-driven surge in demand, along with an unprecedented shortage in semiconductor microchips, has strained the supply chain of personal computers. While the chip shortage was originally concentrated in the auto industry, it has now spread to a range of other consumer electronics, including smartphones, refrigerators and microwaves.

Gartner said that demand for Chromebook by Alphabet Inc’s Google, which it does not account for in its analysis, for instance, tripled in the first quarter thanks to strong demand from educational institutions in North America.

“It is still reasonable to conclude that PC demand could remain strong even after stay-home restrictions ease,” Gartner said.

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