Report: Worldwide personal computer Q3 shipments grew by 3.6 percent

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Gartner reported global personal computer (PC) shipments rose 3.6 percent year-over-year in the third quarter. The research and advisory company noted coronavirus pandemic prompted remote work and learning transitions created the uptick.

The firm also stated the rising popularity of Chromebooks and the resurgence of the U.S. PC market contributed to the sector’s recent growth.

Covid-19 is Big PC Sales Driver

Mikako Kitagawa, a Gartner research director, noted the pandemic created the strongest worldwide demand for PCs in five years.

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The analyst explained the viral outbreak had changed the way the research organization analyzes computer sales. Previously the firm calculated PCs shipments as units per household, but it now counts units per person. With schools and large employers transitioning millions of people to operating remotely, digitalization has become a priority for consumers.

Gartner also revealed demand for computers has been particularly strong in the United States. In the third quarter, PC shipments increased by 11.4 percent from the same time in 2019. Before the September period, American deliveries for notebook, mobile, and desktop computers had not seen a double-digit increase in a decade.

The company’s data is supported by US-based large employers like Microsoft recently announcing their employees can work from home indefinitely.

Chromebooks are the New Black

Gartner counted Chromebooks as part of the PC market for the first time because of their post-pandemic spike in popularity.

The firm states Chromebooks sales jumped by 90 percent year-over-year in Q3. When together, global Chromebook-PC sales jumped 9 percent from 2019. Gartner also found machines powered by Google’s operating system represented 11 percent of the combined computer market.

The consultancy attributed the shipment surge to heavy interest from schools in Japan and the United States. Because of their relatively low cost and robust functionality, learning institutions in those regions have taken to purchasing large quantities of Chromebooks for their homebound students.

In June, DigiTimes predicted the global education sector’s demand for Google-powered laptops would push their annual shipment numbers up by 32.3 percent.

Market Leaders Solidify Positions

Finally, Gartner’s examination of Q3 PC shipments indicated that the sector’s leading manufacturers largely adjusted well to the “new normal.”

Lenovo topped the chart by sending out 18.3 million of the 71.3 million units shipped last quarter, up 8.3 percent annually. The research company stated the firm’s worldwide desktop deliveries fell in Q3, but it saw increased interest from China consumers.

HP Inc. moved 15.4 million computers in the September period and topped the U.S. charts with 5.1 million units shipped. That said, interest in the corporation’s products faltered in the Asia-Pacific and Japanese markets. Accordingly, its total Q3 PC shipments only grew 0.7 percent from 2019.

Dell fared the worst in the last quarter as its 10.8 million PC shipments represented a 4.6 percent year-over-year decline. Gartner explained the firm’s focus on producing business-centric machines saw it lose market share to other vendors.

Acer and Asus saw their PC shipments rise by 29.5 and 12.9 percent in Q3. The two firms likely saw their hardware delivery numbers jump due to their being producers of well-regarded Chromebooks. The corporations also seemed to move the majority of their hardware outside the United States. Asus did not rank among the U.S.’s top Q3 PC makers while Acer moved far fewer computers in America than its rivals.

Despite its premium pricing, Apple shipped 5.5 million PCs last period, a 7.3 percent improvement over Q3 2019.

While taking nothing away from the iPhone, it is clear consumers across the world currently have a preference for affordable computers. Formally a niche product, Chromebooks had a watershed moment in Q3. With a new generation of students being introduced to Google’s ecosystem this year, the devices should continue selling well for a long time to come.

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