Despite the global chip shortage woes, worldwide shipments of personal computers grew to 69.9 million units in the first quarter of 2021.
That’s an increase of 32% – the fastest pace in two decades – compared to the first quarter of 2020, according to research firm Gartner Inc.
As people bought personal computers, including both laptops and desktop computers, to help them work and study remotely during the COVID-19 crisis, the market rebounded from a weak 2020 Q1 to record the fastest year-over-year growth since Gartner began tracking the PC market in 2000.
China’s Lenovo Group grabbed the lead with a 25.1% market share (17,548,400 units), followed by HP Inc (21.4%), Dell Technologies Inc (16.5%), Apple Inc (8%) and Acer Group (5.7%), according to the report.
While Gartner does not include Chromebooks in its traditional PC market results, Chromebook shipments grew by triple digits in the first quarter of 2021, compared to a year ago, with growth primarily driven by investment among educational institutions in North America.
If the Chromebooks are included, the total worldwide PC market grew 47% year-over-year.
“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, Gartner.
“Without the shipment chaos in early 2020, this quarter’s growth may have been lower. However, semiconductor shortages are now adversely affecting the supply chain once again, with shipment lead times for some PCs extending to as long as four months.”
While the chip shortage was originally concentrated in the auto industry, it has now spread to a range of other consumer electronics, including smartphones and personal computers.
However, Gartner remained optimistic about future growth.
“All this may lead to lower shipment numbers, it is still reasonable to conclude that PC demand could remain strong even after stay-home restrictions ease. Moving forward, vendors and suppliers will be closely balancing the need to meet underlying demand without creating excess inventory,” added Kitagawa.