With millions of workers and students forced to stay at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, personal computer sales have reached their highest level in six years.
Laptop and desktop computer sales topped 302 million in 2020, an increase of 13% over the previous year and the largest since 2014, according to the International Data Corp market tracker. Chinese tech giant Lenovo led the market with a 24% share, followed by US sellers HP and Dell. Apple ranked fourth.
Soaring sales have also helped company stock prices. HP shares have gained 20% over the past year, Dell shares have risen 55% and Apple shares have risen 67%.
“The obvious drivers of growth over the past year were centered around work from home and distance learning needs, but the strength of the mainstream market should not be overlooked,” said the vice president of IDC, Ryan Reith, in a statement. “We continue to see gaming PCs and monitor sales at record levels and Chrome-based devices are expanding beyond education into the mainstream market. In retrospect, the pandemic not only fueled demand for the PC market, but also created opportunities which resulted in market expansion. “
The pandemic, which has so far killed nearly 2 million people worldwide, has caused lockdowns and school closures around the world from last January. In the United States, about 80% of large businesses and 45% of small businesses have opted for at least one remote job, a survey conducted by Harvard Business School found last year. And 93% of U.S. households with school-aged children reported distance learning, according to the Census Bureau.
This has caused a surge in PC buying, from the more expensive laptops to the cheapest Chromebooks. Some PC manufacturers suffered from shortages key parts, especially processor chips, as factories in Asia have also closed due to the pandemic, or sales could have been even stronger. But analysts said the shortages are expected to be addressed this year.
“As supply shortages continue to dampen the market in the near term, Canalys believes most of the wrinkles will be ironed out by the second half of 2021,” said analyst Ishan Dutt, of research firm Canaly. , in that company’s 2020 sales report. Canalys also found that PC sales increased by 13% in 2020.
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