High demand, early shortages drive global PC shipments growth: IDC

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High demand, early shortages drive global PC shipments growth: IDC

The fulfillment of shortages from early 2020 and “extremely high” demand have fueled the growth of global PC shipments, research from IDC revealed.

IDC said shipments of traditional PCs — which include desktops, notebooks and workstations — grew 55.2 percent year over year from 54 million units to 84 million in the first quarter of 2021.

The shipments are also down 8 percent from the fourth quarter of 2020, when IDC recorded 91.6 million shipments globally. The company said it was also the smallest sequential decline for the first quarter since 2012.

The research firm said the growth rate benefited from shortages faced in the first quarter of 2020 when the global pandemic began, resulting in an unusually favourable year-over-year comparison.

"Unfulfilled demand from the past year has carried forward into the first quarter and additional demand brought on by the pandemic has also continued to drive volume," IDC research manager Jitesh Ubrani said.

"However, the market continues to struggle with setbacks including component shortages and logistics issues, each of which has contributed to an increase in average selling prices."

Also contributing to the growth are increases in average selling prices (ASPs), primarily driven by growth in gaming, the need for higher performance notebooks in the enterprise, and an increase in demand for touchscreens within the education segment.

"There is no question when entering 2021 the backlog for PCs was extensive across business, consumer, and education," IDC program vice president Ryan Reith said.

"The ongoing shortages in the semiconductor space only further prolong the ability for vendors to refill inventory and fulfill orders to customers. We believe a fundamental shift has occurred around the PC, which will result in a more positive outlook for years to follow.

“All three segments – business, education, and consumer – are experiencing demand that we didn't expect to happen regardless of many countries beginning their ‘opening up’ process. Component shortages will likely be a topic of conversation for the majority of 2021, but the more important question should be what PC demand will look like in 2-3 years."

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