Devices running Chrome OS have been highlighted as one of the global PC market’s “bright spots” during the third quarter of 2020 amid varying levels of overall growth.
The Q3 performance of the global PC market has pointed to Chromebooks as a standout performer for shipments across separate analyses from research firms Gartner and IDC.
Gartner’s analysis of Chromebook shipments noted growth of 90 per cent year-on-year during the quarter, with the research firm claiming the surge came from remote learning, particularly in the US education market.
In what it considers to be the traditional PC market — which includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs and ultramobile premium devices like Microsoft Surface — Gartner saw the market grow by 3.6 per cent year-on-year over the quarter, to 71.4 million units shipped.
However, when combing Chromebooks from the PC market, combined market’s Q3 growth rose up to 9 per cent, with the Chrome OS devices accounting for approximately 11 per cent of the merged market.
“This quarter had the strongest consumer PC demand that Gartner has seen in five years,” said Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner.
“The business PC market had a more cautious dynamic this quarter. Businesses have continued to buy PCs for remote work, but the focus has shifted from urgent device procurement towards cost optimisation.
“However, enterprise spending remained strong where government funding for distance learning and remote work has fuelled device purchases, such as in the U.S. and Japan.”
Meanwhile, in IDC’s preliminary results for its Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker for Q3, it claimed the traditional PC market — which includes desktops, notebooks and workstations — grew 14.6 per cent year-on-year, to 81.3 million units.
"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."
In addition to both research firms highlighting Chromebooks, there was also unanimous sentiment towards component shortages, with IDC analysis going as far to say that this resulted in missed opportunities for many vendors.
"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," Ubrani said.
These analyses follow research from Canalys for the quarter, which did not include Chromebooks in its results.
It claimed however that global PC shipments reached a 10-year high during Q3, with remote working driving a surge in demand for notebooks and laptops.
“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.”
Between all three research firms, all three came to the conclusion that Lenovo was the top PC vendor for shipments during the quarter, followed by HP, Dell, Apple and then Acer.