IDC says global shipments of traditional PCs, including desktops, notebooks, and workstations, grew 55.2% year-over-year during the first quarter of 2021 (1Q21).
Per the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, PCs were in extremely high demand, benefiting from the shortages faced in the first quarter of 2020 at the start of the global pandemic.
Growth is relative
So, the quarter-on-quarter growth comparison were relatively good only because the 1Q20 quarter was bad.
IDC estimates PC shipments reached 84 million worldwide in 1Q21, a modest 8% decline from the fourth quarter of 2020. While sequential declines are typical for the first quarter, a decline this small has not been seen since the first quarter of 2012 when the PC market declined 7.5% sequentially.
"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," said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC's Mobile Device Trackers.
He cautioned, however, that 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.
The continued resurgence in the PC market as well as increases in average selling prices (ASPs) have primarily been 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.
Shortage is good
"There is no question when entering 2021 the backlog for PCs was extensive across the business, consumer, and education," said Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers, acknowledged the backlog for PCs at the start of 2021.
"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."Ryan Reith
"The ongoing shortages in the semiconductor space only further prolong the ability for vendors to refill inventory and fulfil orders to customers. 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," he concluded.
- Editor's note: I ordered a laptop from Lenovo on March 19, 2021. As of this writing (three weeks have past), I have as yet to receive confirmation when they will ship the laptop. So, is that good for business?