The global PC market has seen a drop in growth to five per cent during the third quarter in 2021 following five quarters of double-digit growth, according to analyst group Canalys.
There were 84.1 million units of desktops and notebooks, including workstations shipped during the period, and despite high demand, the sector has witnessed a number of blows. As a result, vendors and channel partners still facing difficulty in fulfilling orders and bearing heavy backlogs, the analyst firm observed.
Notebooks and mobile workstation shipments grew three per cent year-on-year to hit 67.4 million units, while shipments of desktops and desktop workstations rose 12 per cent to 16.6 million units, Canalys said.
“Disruption to the global supply chain and logistics network remains the key inhibitor of higher growth in the PC market,” Canalys senior analyst Ishan Dutt said. “More than a year on from the onset of the pandemic, manufacturing continues to be hindered by lockdowns and other COVID-19 related restrictions, particularly in Asia.
“This has been compounded by a massive slowdown in global transportation with freight prices and delay times skyrocketing as a number of industries compete to meet unfulfilled demand.”
Dutt said the shortfall in supply of PCs is expected to last well into 2022 and expects a significant portion of orders not met.
“Vendors able to manage this period of operational upheaval by diversifying production and distribution and having better visibility of orders to prioritise device allocation will be equipped to ride out the storm,” Dutt said.
Of the top five PC vendors, all but one continued to post-shipment volume growth during the third quarter with Lenovo leading the market with 19.8 million units shipped, a modest increase of 2.5 per cent year-on-year.
HP maintained the second position, but underwent a 5.7 per cent decline, with a drop off in Chromebook shipments to the US playing a major role in the downturn. Third-placed Dell was the big winner, posting the highest growth at 26.7 per cent with over 15 million units shipped and a market share gain of more than three per cent from a year ago.
Apple and Acer rounded out the top five with healthy growth of 14.4 per cent and 5.7 per cent respectively, with the former also enjoying a market share gain.
“While there is a marked slowdown from the phenomenal performances in the past quarter in some segments, especially education and consumer, newer opportunities exist,” Canalys research director Rushabh Doshi said. “Hybrid work models will be an important part of the new normal post-COVID-19 and will require PC vendors to enhance product portfolios and go-to-market strategies, as faster processors, better cameras and anytime-anywhere connectivity take centre-stage.
“SMBs and Enterprises are also likely to focus on ease of procurement, security and device management as they move to sustain these new policies for the long term. Adding to this, PC demand is expected to be robust from SMBs as various industries race to make up for lost time, and consumer spending shifts into categories that were otherwise restricted during the lockdown, mainly tourism and travel.”
Looking at individual regions, LATAM, EMEA and Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) registered strong annual growth in shipments of 17 per cent, 16 per cent and 13 per cent respectively. North America (US and Canada) saw total shipments fall by more than 9 per cent year-on-year while Japan saw the worst decline as PC shipments fell by close to 30 per cent.
“With the supply situation throwing curve-balls one after the other, PC vendors have it harder than anyone, as they manage this intricate and complex problem of supply and demand, where no magic formula exists,” Doshi said.