Friday, January 22, 2021

Pandemic rebound? PC shipments post biggest upswing in a decade

arrows showing upward trend growth chart graph

The PC market rebounded last year, sporting the highest growth rate in a decade, industry analysts said this week, pinning credit (or blame) on the coronavirus pandemic.

Research firm IDC pegged 2020’s global shipments of personal computers at 302.6 million devices, a 13% increase over the year prior, which represented the largest annual gain since 2010. The shipment volume was the largest since 2014, said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager with IDC’s mobile device trackers team, in an interview.

The turnaround was striking: Of the past 10 years, six saw year-over-year declines while one had been flat.

Gartner Research, an IDC rival, also claimed a notable boost in PC shipments. Even though Gartner’s numbers for 2020 differed from IDC’s — the former firm said last year’s increase was just under 5%, less than half IDC’s — it agreed that that growth was the highest measured since 2010.

The difference between IDC’s and Gartner’s total shipments for the year — 302 million and 275 million, respectively — was largely due to the former counting Chromebooks as personal computers, while the latter did not.

“A lot of volume early in the year was because companies had people working at home,” said Ubrani, reflecting on the spring months, when businesses worldwide first shuttered, then asked employees to work from home. Enterprises, Ubrani said, purchased large numbers of laptops to equip those suddenly-remote workers, the sales volume at times sufficient to completely throttle the component supply chain.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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