PC sales soar, Apple has a big quarter

IDC report shows pandemic driving major growth in PC sales

Credit: Dreamstime

PC sales in the third quarter of 2020 soared globally by 14.6 per cent, year-over-year, with Apple leading the way with a 38.9 per cent leap in shipments, according to IDC.

The analyst company reported that with many countries around the world entering the second wave of COVID-19 infections, continuity of business and online schooling remained at the forefront of every economy.

This led to double-digit growth in the traditional PC market, comprised of desktops, notebooks, and workstations. Global shipments grew to 81.3 million units in the third quarter of 2020 (3Q20), according to preliminary results from IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker.

"Consumer demand and institutional demand approached record levels in some cases," research manager for IDC's Mobile Device Trackers, Jitesh Ubrani, said. "Gaming, Chromebooks, and in some cases cellular-enabled notebooks were all bright spots during the quarter.

“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."

Unfortunately, shortages of multiple components, such as processors, panels, and other subcomponents, led to missed opportunity for many vendors, the analyst noted.

"The PC industry rode into the third quarter with a sizeable backlog of unfulfilled orders," according to IDC  research vice-president, devices and displays, Linn Huang. "And it appears the quarter will end under the same auspices.

“Given that the shortages have been due more to a shortfall of business planning than a technical glitch, we do not anticipate a sudden surge in capacity. Consequently, this backlog will likely carry into 2021."

The report claimed Apple recorded 6.89 million shipments for the quarter, up from 4.96 million shipments in the same quarter 2019. This gave the company an 8.5 per cent market share compared with 7.0 per cent in the third quarter of 2019.

Over all, Lenovo led the way with 19.27 million shipments for a market share of 23.7 per cent, followed by HP (18.7 million, 23 per cent), and Dell (12.0m, 14.8 per cent). Acer rounded put the top five with 6.0m shipments for a 7.4 per cent market share.

IDC reported the following regional highlights:

Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) (APeJ) – The Traditional PC market posted a single digit increase in the region with results coming in above IDC's forecast. Shipments were driven by inventory replenishments and strong demand for notebooks as end users across the region continued to purchase devices for work from home, online learning, and entertainment purposes.

Japan – The GIGA project through which students all over the country receive PCs and tablets for online learning, as well as strong work-from-home demand helped maintain flat growth in the traditional PC market. The consumer segment declined year-over-year due to the high baseline set last year by the consumption tax hike and Windows 10 migrations.

Canada – The Traditional PC market remained extremely active, posting the 17th consecutive quarter of gains. This is the second quarter where COVID-19-related restrictions were in effect, continuing to boost demand from Canadian households and from organizations looking to ensure business continuity through stay-at-home situations. The need for computing devices in Canada should remain high throughout the winter but
spending might be impacted by the macro-economic situation, increasing pressure on average selling prices for the foreseeable future.

Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) – Traditional PC shipments achieved high single-digit growth in 3Q20 as another exceptional quarter of growth for notebook outweighed heavy desktop declines. The ongoing lockdowns continued to drive high demand for notebooks to enable entertainment, working, and studying from home. However, with offices largely remaining closed there was limited demand for stationary devices.

Latin America – The traditional PC market posted double-digit growth for first time in five years. Despite price increases and economic contractions in many countries, the demand for portability continues to rise. Higher notebook demand due to work-from-home and online learning sustained the region's growth, which is expected to continue in most countries into early 2021.

US – The traditional PC market witnessed yet another extraordinary quarter posting strong double-digit shipment growth. Preliminary results reflect continued strong buyer sentiment fueled by stay-at-home PC needs and resultant inventory replenishment. While notebook shipments strengthened further due to sustained demand from the consumer and education segments, the desktop market declined year over year but found some respite as gaming systems remained in demand.

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Mike Gee

Mike Gee

PC World
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