As the global pandemic rages on and many countries around the world enter the second wave of COVID-19 infections, continuity of business and online schooling remain at the forefront of every economy. This led to double-digit growth in the traditional PC market, comprised of desktops, notebooks, and workstations, as global shipments grew 14.6% year over year to 81.3 million units in the third quarter of 2020 (3Q20), according to preliminary results from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker.
“Consumer demand and institutional demand approached record levels in some cases,” said Jitesh Ubrani research manager for IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers. “Gaming, Chromebooks, and in some cases cellular-enabled notebooks were all bright spots during the quarter. Had the market not been hampered by component shortages, notebook shipments would have soared even higher during the third quarter as market appetite was yet unsatiated.”
Unfortunately, shortages of multiple components, such as processors, panels, and other subcomponents, led to missed opportunities for many vendors. “The PC industry rode into the third quarter with a sizeable backlog of unfulfilled orders,” said Linn Huang, research vice president, Devices and Displays at IDC. “And it appears the quarter will end under the same auspices. Given that the shortages have been due more to a shortfall of business planning than a technical glitch, we do not anticipate a sudden surge in capacity. Consequently, this backlog will likely carry into 2021.”
Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) (APeJ): The Traditional PC market posted a single-digit increase in the region with results coming in above IDC’s forecast. Shipments were driven by inventory replenishment and strong demand for notebooks as end-users across the region continued to purchase devices for work from home, online learning, and entertainment purposes.
Japan: The GIGA project through which students all over the country receive PCs and tablets for online learning, as well as strong work-from-home demand, helped maintain flat growth in the traditional PC market. The consumer segment declined year over year due to the high baseline set last year by the consumption tax hike and Windows 10 migrations.
USA: The traditional PC market witnessed yet another extraordinary quarter posting strong double-digit shipment growth. Preliminary results reflect continued strong buyer sentiment fueled by stay-at-home PC needs and resultant inventory replenishment. While notebook shipments strengthened further due to sustained demand from the consumer and education segments, the desktop market declined year over year but found some respite as gaming systems remained in demand.