‘Humble’ PC gains resurgence from COVID-19

‘Humble’ PC gains resurgence from COVID-19

Despite disruptions in 2020, demand for both tablets and PCs increased in Australia.

Credit: Dreamstime

The personal computer (PC) has encountered a surprising revival off the back of the coronavirus pandemic, with sales surging by 14 per cent in 2020. 

Despite major hold-ups in the PC and chip supply chains due to China’s factory shutdowns, the “humble” PC gained sales of 4.1 million in Australia last year. 

According to Telsyte’s Australian Tablet Computer Market Study 2021, a shift to working from home (WFH), more remote learning and entertainment uses such as gaming also resulted in the sale of 3.4 million tablets, a rise of 12 per cent from 2019. 

Sales of Apple’s Mac computers increased by 16 per cent in 2020, in part driven by an interest in Apple’s new M1 system-on-a-chip. 

Meanwhile, Windows computers also saw double-digit growth in sales, increasing by 14 per cent, the report said. Of the 4.1 million computers sold in 2020, around 85 per cent were Windows-based devices. 

The Australian tablet market meanwhile remained dominated by the triopoly of Apple, Samsung and Microsoft, which had a combined share of 85 per cent of the total tablet market. 

According to the report, consumers are spending more on tablets due to higher demand for better performance and a preference for 2-in-1s over traditional slate-only use cases. 

The demand for 2-in-1 devices – computers that can operate as a tablet or as a laptop – continued from its 2019 popularity rise, when Telsyte called them “ripe for growth in the coming years as carriers look to increase network utilisation beyond smartphones”. 

Indeed, Telsyte’s research found 80 per cent of tablets sold in 2020 were 2-in-1s, a huge surge from 59 per cent in 2019. 

“Premium Windows 2-in-1s have been demonstrating the capability to support business, education and other industry specific applications comparable to Windows laptops,” Telstye senior analyst Alvin Lee wrote. 

“However, Telsyte believes the most recent release of iPad Pro (2021) will further strengthen the iPad’s position to take on the full-fledged PC market with the more powerful M1 chip that was only released late in 2019 on a few Mac [models]. 

“2-in-1s are increasingly appealing as a potential laptop replacement with improved productivity and performance, along with the option for standalone mobile connectivity.” 

Meanwhile, the pandemic also drove a rise in the demand for WFH provisions. According to Telsyte, three-fifths of the Australian workforce now have a special setup allowing them to work from home, such as a dedicated space or room (38 per cent); faster Internet (31 per cent); additional computer monitors (22 per cent); and ergonomic chairs (21 per cent).  

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