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Market to Remain Healthy Even as Slowing U.S. PC Market Signals the End of Pandemic-Driven Growth

San Francisco, NFAPost: Worldwide PC shipments totalled 88.4 million units in the fourth quarter of 2021, a 5% decrease from the fourth quarter of 2020, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc.

This is the first year-over-year decline following six consecutive quarters of growth. For the year, PC shipments reached 339.8 million units in 2021, a 9.9% increase from 2020.

Commenting on the development, Gartner Research Director Mikako Kitagawa said a sharp decline in the US PC market, caused by ongoing supply chain issues and the collapse in demand for Chromebooks, drove this quarter’s slowdown.

“This likely signifies the end of the massive and unexpected growth in PC demand triggered by the pandemic. However, the fourth quarter’s decline only slightly tempered the PC market’s growth in 2021, which saw the highest shipment volume since 2013,” said Gartner Research Director Mikako Kitagawa.

During the pandemic, Gartner Research Director Mikako Kitagawa said shipment growth has been supported by an average selling price (ASP) hike, resulting in higher revenues and a healthier market overall. “As a result, annual PC shipment volumes are not expected to decline to pre-pandemic levels for at least 2-3 years,” said Mikako Kitagawa.

The top three vendors in the worldwide PC market remained unchanged in the fourth quarter of 2021, with Lenovo maintaining the No. 1 spot in shipments (see Table 1).

Notes: Data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs, ultramobile premiums (such as Microsoft Surface) and Chromebooks, but not 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 2022)

Lenovo’s worldwide PC shipments fell nearly 12% quartering the fourth quarter of 2021, the first period of year-over-year decline for the company since the first quarter of 2020.

This decline was due to the slowed U.S. market, weak Chromebook demand and supply chain issues, which impeded Lenovo’s ability to supply PCs to enterprise customers. These factors also contributed to HP’s 4% year-over-year decline; however, HP’s decline was tempered by robust growth in the Asia Pacific market.

Dell gained market share this period after notching a fifth consecutive quarter of growth. Shipment volume exceeded 17 million units for the first time in the company’s history, led by strong performance in Latin America, EMEA and Asia Pacific.

Regional Overview

The US PC market saw its second consecutive quarter of double-digit decline during the fourth quarter of 2021, with shipments declining 24.2% year-over-year. This decrease was largely driven by weak Chromebook shipments as demand from educational institutions continued to slow.

While US business PC sales were generally strong due to the recovering economy and the reopening of offices, supply chain delays impacted shipment volumes, especially in the large enterprise market. The holiday season also saw weaker PC sales than in 2020 due to modest consumer demand.

Dell secured the top spot in the U.S. PC market based on shipments with 28.5% market share. HP followed with 25.9% of the U.S. PC market share (see Table 2).

Notes: Data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs, ultramobile premiums (such as Microsoft Surface) and Chromebooks, but not 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 2022)

The EMEA PC market grew 7.4% year-over-year, reaching 26 million units, the highest volume in five years. This growth was led by business PC demand associated with increasing economic and social recovery, as many businesses, schools and universities began to return to in-person operations.

Excluding Japan, the Asia Pacific market grew by 11.5% year-over-year. The mobile PC market was particularly strong in the region, as many private enterprises pre-ordered extra mobile PCs in anticipation of potential market shortages.

Annual Overview: Pandemic Drove PC Market Revival

Worldwide PC shipments totalled 339.8 million units in 2021, a 9.9% increase from 2020 (see Table 3).

Notes: Data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs, ultramobile premiums (such as Microsoft Surface) and Chromebooks, but not 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 2022)

After a long period of decline and occasional modest growth, the pandemic revived the PC industry, as evidenced by 2021’s continued strong growth. Gartner expects PC demand to slow for at least the next two years, but annual shipment volumes are not expected to decline to pre-pandemic levels in that period.

Kitagawa said the pandemic significantly changed business and consumer PC user behaviour, as people had to adopt to new ways of working and living.

“Post-pandemic, some of the newly established ways of using PCs will remain regular practice, such as remote or hybrid workstyles, taking online courses and communicating with friends and family online,” said Kitagawa.

These results are preliminary. Final statistics will be available soon to clients of Gartner’s PC Quarterly Statistics Worldwide by Region programme.

This programme 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.

About Gartner for High Tech

Gartner for High Tech equips tech leaders and their teams with role-based best practices, industry insights and strategic views into emerging trends and market changes to achieve their mission-critical priorities and build the successful organizations of tomorrow. Additional information is available at www.gartner.com/en/industries/high-tech. Follow news and updates from Gartner for High Tech on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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