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Worldwide PC Shipments Grew 10.7% in Q4 of 2020 and 4.8% for the Year

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Worldwide PC Shipments Grew 10.7% in Q4 of 2020 and 4.8% for the Year

Continued Consumer Demand Results in Highest Global PC Market Growth in a Decade

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 79.4 million units in the fourth quarter of 2020, a 10.7% increase from the fourth quarter of 2019, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. For the year, PC shipments reached 275 million units in 2020, a 4.8% increase from 2019 and the highest growth in ten years.

Worldwide PC Shipments Grew 10.7% in Q4 of 2020 and 4.8% for the Year

“The worldwide PC market saw a strong finish to 2020, recording a third consecutive quarter of year over year growth, although there continued to be supply shortages due to this high demand,” said Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner.

“Robust consumer PC demand again drove sales, particularly in regions where governments maintain stay-at-home orders as the COVID-19 pandemic persists. Prior to 2020, consumers had been shifting to a phone-first focus, yet the pandemic reversed this trend.

PCs have resurfaced as an essential device as consumers, including younger children, are relying on them to for work, school, socializing and be entertained from their homes.

“Business PC spending was again weaker this quarter, as the urgent purchases for remote work peaked earlier in the year. However, in certain regions like China where economic recovery from the pandemic has already begun, business growth was slightly stronger.”

While Gartner does not include Chromebook shipments in its traditional PC market results, the fourth quarter of 2020 was another remarkable period of growth for Chromebooks, with shipments increasing around 200% year over year to reach 11.7 million units. In 2020, Chromebook shipments increased over 80% to a total of nearly 30 million units, largely due to demand from the North American education market.

The top three vendors in the worldwide PC market remained unchanged from the previous quarter, although Lenovo continued to widen its lead over HP. Reflecting the trend seen throughout 2020, consumer-oriented vendors such as Apple, Acer and Asus gained market share (see Table 1).

Table 1. Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 4Q20 (Thousands of Units)

Company 4Q20 Shipments 4Q20 Market Share (%) 4Q19 Shipments 4Q19 Market Share (%) 4Q20-4Q19 Growth (%)
Lenovo  21,491 27.1  17,713 24.7 21.3
HP Inc.  15,683 19.8  16,155 22.5 -2.9
Dell  13,199 16.6  12,127 16.9 8.8
Apple  6,893 8.7  5,250 7.3 31.3
Acer Group  4,741 6.0  4,035 5.6 17.5
ASUS  4,570 5.8  3,975 5.5 15.0
Others  12,813 16.1  12,493 17.4 2.6
Total  79,392 100.0  71,749 100.0 10.7

Notes: Data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs and ultramobile premiums (such as Microsoft Surface), but not Chromebooks or iPads. All data is estimated based on a preliminary study. Final estimates will be subject to change. The statistics are based on shipments selling into channels. Numbers may not add up to totals shown due to rounding.
Source: Gartner (January 2021)

Regional Overview

The U.S. PC market had another strong quarter, registering a 20.6% growth year over year. Despite economic and political disruptions in the region throughout the fourth quarter of 2020, the consumer PC market continued to perform well, led by surging mobile PC demand. For the full year, the U.S. PC market experienced its highest growth in 20 years.

“Though many states did not re-issue stay-home orders until December, U.S. consumers continued to largely avoid travel, while many U.S. schools were either closed or ran hybrid online classrooms,” said Ms. Kitagawa. “Therefore, consumer spending shifted to items that could enhance life at home, including PCs.”

HP secured the top spot in the U.S. PC market based on shipments with 28% market share. Dell followed with 25.2% of the U.S. PC market share (see Table 2).

Table 2. Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 4Q20 (Thousands of Units)

Company 4Q20 Shipments 4Q20 Market Share (%) 4Q19 Shipments 4Q19 Market Share (%) 4Q20-4Q19 Growth (%)
HP Inc.  5,323 28.0  4,884 31.0 9.0
Dell  4,792 25.2  4,192 26.6 14.3
Lenovo  3,460 18.2  2,458 15.6 40.8
Apple  2,713 14.3  2,055 13.0 32.0
Microsoft  1,010 5.3  836 5.3 20.8
Others  1,730 9.1  1,352 8.6 28.0
Total  19,029 100.0  15,778 100.0 20.6
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Notes: Data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs and ultramobile premiums (such as Microsoft Surface), but not Chromebooks or iPads. All data is estimated based on a preliminary study. Final estimates will be subject to change. The statistics are based on shipments selling into channels. Numbers may not add up to totals shown due to rounding. Source: Gartner (January 2021)

Total PC shipments in EMEA reached 23 million units in the fourth quarter of 2020, an increase of 6.9% year over year, while the Asia Pacific reached 25 million units, an 8.3% year over year growth. Consumer demand in both EMEA and Asia Pacific countries was particularly strong. Stabilized business PC spending due to China’s economic recovery also helped drive strong growth in the Asia Pacific.

COVID-19 Drives Highest Consumer PC Demand in 10 Years

Worldwide PC shipments totalled 275 million units in 2020, a 4.8% increase from 2019 (see Table 3). This was the highest annual growth for the worldwide PC market since 2010.

Table 3. Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2020 (Thousands of Units)

Company 2020 Shipments 2020 Market Share (%) 2019 Shipments 2019 Market Share (%) 2020-2019 Growth (%)
Lenovo 68,507 24.9 63,182 24.1 8.4
HP Inc. 58,357 21.2 57,949 22.1 0.7
Dell 45,029 16.4 44,095 16.8 2.1
Apple 22,454 8.2 18,337 7.0 22.5
Acer Group 16,264 5.9 14,743 5.6 10.3
Asus 16,424 6.0 14,449 5.5 13.7
Others 48,111 17.5 49,797 19.0 -3.4
Total 275,147 100.0 262,552 100.0 4.8

Notes: Data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs and ultramobile premiums (such as Microsoft Surface), but not Chromebooks or iPads. All data is estimated based on a preliminary study. Final estimates will be subject to change. The statistics are based on shipments selling into channels. Numbers may not add up to totals shown due to rounding.
Source: Gartner (January 2021)

“Despite some supply chain issues at the beginning of 2020, COVID-19 coupled with consistent consumer demand created tremendous growth opportunities for PCs throughout the year,” said Ms. Kitagawa.

“This momentum is likely to continue through at least the first half of 2021, but it remains to be seen if it will sustain in the post-pandemic era as it will depend on the permanency of the changes driving demand.

For instance, online education may continue even after schools open, consumers may still buy groceries online, and some businesses may continue full- or part-time remote work. If these scenarios persist, then PCs will return to consumers’ daily lives as an essential device.”

These results are preliminary. Final statistics will be available soon to clients of Gartner’s PC Quarterly Statistics Worldwide by Region program. This program offers a comprehensive and timely picture of the worldwide PC market, allowing product planning, distribution, marketing and sales organizations to keep abreast of key issues and their future implications around the globe.

Learn more about how to lead organizations through the disruption of coronavirus in the Gartner coronavirus resource centre, a collection of complimentary Gartner research and webinars to help organizations respond, manage, and prepare for the rapid spread and global impact of COVID-19.

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world’s leading research and advisory company and a member of the S&P 500.
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