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Mobility a focus for global PC market amid record-breaking Q3

Mobility a focus for global PC market amid record-breaking Q3

Notebooks shipped 64 million units during the quarter

Credit: Dreamstime

Global PC shipments reached a 10-year high during Q3, with remote working driving a surge in demand for notebooks and laptops.

The global PC market shipped 79.2 million units in Q3 2020, a year-on-year rise of 12.7 per cent, research firm Canalys found, claiming this was the highest level of growth seen in the last 10 years.

The notebook segment performed well for the quarter, reaching 64 million shipments — close to its record high of 64.6 million shipments in Q4 2011.

When adding the segment with mobile workstations, the two markers saw a combined growth of 28.3 per cent year-on-year. Meanwhile, desktop and desktop workstations together fell by a comparable 26 per cent over the same time period.

“Vendors, the supply chain, and the channel have now had time to find their feet and allocate resources towards supplying notebooks, which continue to see massive demand from both businesses and consumers,” said Canalys analyst Ishan Dutt.

“After prioritising high-value markets and large customers in Q2, vendors have now been able to turn their attention to supplying a wider range of countries as well as SMBs [small- to medium businesses] that faced difficulty securing devices earlier this year.”

The role of governments around the world has also played a part through financial support and full-scale device deployment, which Dutt labelled as critical for education sectors. 

“For example, the UK government made 100,000 notebooks available to ensure students, unable to return to classrooms, face minimum disruption in their ability to receive an education,” he added.

The trend towards devices that enable remote working is expected to persist in the years to come, Canalys research director Rushabh Doshi claimed.

 “As the line between work and home lives is increasingly blurred, it becomes important to position devices towards a wide array of use cases, with a focus on mobility, connectivity, battery life, and display and audio quality,” he said. 

“Differentiation in product portfolios to capture key segments such as education and mainstream gaming will also provide pockets of growth. And beyond the PC itself, there will be an increased need for collaboration accessories, new services, subscription packages and a strong focus on endpoint security. 

“These trends will most benefit vendors who provide holistic solutions that enable their customers to make structural changes to their operations. Although the focus has been on commercial PC demand in the last two quarters, consumer spending during the holiday season is set to bring more joy to the PC market.”

During the quarter, Lenovo was the top vendor for market share at 24.3 per cent with 19.3 million shipments, representing growth of 11.4 per cent year-on-year

HP followed at 23.6 per cent market share with 18.7 million units shipped, growing by a similar 11.9 per cent year-on-year. Dell came third with 15.1 per cent market share at 12 million units, a contraction by 0.5 per cent year-on-year.

The list was rounded out by Apple and Acer in fourth and fifth, respectively, which both experienced the most growth of the top five. Apple held onto 8.1 per cent market share with 6.4 million units shipped, growing by 13.2 per cent year-on-year, while Acer’s market share of 7.1 per cent represented 5.6 million units shipped, increasing by 15 per cent year-on-year.

This quarter's record breaking growth follows Canalys' June prediction that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic has passed for the overall PC and tablet market, and it expects the combined market to return to growth by the end of 2022.


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