Now, new preliminary data by research firm Gartner has given us a clearer picture of how the industry has been affected exactly.
As per their statistics, worldwide PC shipments totaled 71.4 million units in Q3 2020, a 3.6% increase from the third quarter of 2019. Gartner justifies this growth by noting that consumer demand for PCs due to home entertainment and distance learning needs during the ongoing pandemic, along with the strongest growth the US PC market has seen in 10 years, drove the global market momentum.
“This quarter had the strongest consumer PC demand that Gartner has seen in five years,” Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner, 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. 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.
“The business PC market had a more cautious dynamic this quarter. Businesses have continued to buy PCs for remote work, but the focus has shifted from urgent device procurement towards cost optimization. However, enterprise spending remained strong where government funding for distance learning and remote work has fueled device purchases, such as in the U.S. and Japan.”
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Popular PC brandsAs for which PC brands continue to dominate the market, China-based Lenovo continues to reign on top, with its quarterly shipments rose to over 18 million units for the first time ever, followed by HP and Dell. As with those two brands, Lenovo experienced a decline in desktop shipments, but though not as steep not as steep as those experienced by HP and Dell, as Lenovo’s desktop demand was supported by solid growth in China, Gartner explains.
Meanwhile, HP saw below-market growth as desktop shipments declined 30% year over year, resulting in a growth of just 0.7% in the third quarter of 2020.
Dell’s streak of 17 consecutive quarters of year over year growth ended this quarter with a 4.6% decline, reflecting its focus on business over consumer PCs.
Given that parents are often looking for affordable devices for their children to use for distance learning, Gartner saw sales of the minimalistic, internet-based Chromebook, which it usually excludes from traditional PC results, skyrocket by 90% year-on-year in Q3. Therefore, if the firm includes Chromebooks in its calculations, the total worldwide PC market grew around 9% year over year, with Chromebooks representing about 11% of the combined PC/Chromebook market.
Other top sellers included Apple, Acer Group, and ASUS.
Sales by region
Gartner’s data shows that the EMEA PC market remained relatively flat in the third quarter of 2020, with just 0.4% year over year growth to 19.5 million units. The EMEA market also saw strong consumer demand for PCs, led by sales of aggressively priced notebooks for children and students as well as high-end gaming machines to support the entertainment needs of families.
According to Gartner, the US market had a particularly strong quarter with 11.4% growth year over year, which is the first time in ten years that the region has seen double-digit growth. Robust mobile PC (devices like tablet-based PCs for example) growth of 29% year over year was offset by a major decline in desktop PC sales.
Asia Pacific showed a moderate growth of 3.3% year over year, but the region showed a strong quarter over quarter growth of 16.5%, indicating a consistent recovery after a significant decline earlier in 2020.
In Q2 2020, Gartner had noted that worldwide PC shipments totaled 64.8 million, exhibiting a 2.8% increase from the second quarter of 2019. After a significant decline in the first quarter of the year due to COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions, the PC market returned to growth as vendors restocked their channels and mobile PC demand increased.