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PC Shipments Record Fastest Y/Y Growth in 2 Decades: Gartner

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Anirudha Bhagat
·4 min read
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Global PC shipments recorded the fastest year-over-year growth during the first quarter of 2021 in more than two decades, according to preliminary results by Gartner IT. Per the data compiled by the independent research firm, a total 69.9 million PCs were shipped during the quarter, up 32% from the year-ago period.

Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner, said, “This growth should be viewed in the context of two unique factors: comparisons against a pandemic-constrained market and the current global semiconductor shortage.” She further added, “Without the shipment chaos in early 2020, this quarter’s growth may have been lower. However, semiconductor shortages are now adversely affecting the supply chain once again, with shipment lead times for some PCs extending to as long as four months.”

Kitagawa stated that the shortage of chip supply might lead to lower PC shipments. However, she believes demand to be strong despite the relaxations of the stay-at-home restrictions.

Gartner does not include Chromebook sales in its PC shipment results. The research firm noted that Chromebook shipments increased in triple digits during the March-end quarter mainly driven by solid investments by educational institutions in North America. Including Chromebook sales, worldwide shipments jumped 47%, year over year.

PC Sales Likely to Grow

The pandemic has necessitated the use of PC systems, be it for remote work, web-based learning, video conferencing, video gaming, social media, consumer entertainment and streaming or online shopping.

Moreover, as vaccine distribution and democratization take time, the risk of contracting the new COVID-19 mutant strain is expected to keep people confined to the safety of their homes, for quite some time now. This, in turn, will boost the prospects of the PC market in the days ahead.

On the heels of stellar consumer demand and supply shortages-led carry-forward of backlog into the remaining quarters of 2021, the momentum in PC market is poised to sustain.

Top Vendors

Per the data compiled by Gartner, all top PC manufacturers witnessed year-over-year increases in shipments in the first quarter. During the January-March quarter, Lenovo LNVGY expanded its stake over HP HPQ, maintaining the top vendor position, with a market share of 25.1%.

One Year Price Performance

Lenovo recorded the highest growth of 42.3% among the top six vendors, chiefly on increased shipments of desk-based PCs in China. Gartner noted that the company was more in control of their supply chain as Lenovo manufactures the majority percentage of PCs in-house compared with other vendors.

HP continued to be in the second position, with a market share of 21.4%. HP shipped 34.6% higher PCs, sequentially, during the quarter, primarily mainly aided by a 60% jump in Latin America. This upswing is chiefly attributable to soft year-over-year comparisons as the company’s shipments were hit hard by the pandemic-induced supply-chain disruptions.

Dell Technologies DELL holds the third position with a market share of 16.5%. The company recorded year-over-year shipment growth of 12.9%, the slowest among the top six vendors. This sluggish growth rate reflects the company’s strategy of focusing more on business or enterprise PC and pull away from consumer products.

Apple AAPL, Acer Group and ASUS hold the next three positions, with a respective market share of 8%, 5.7%, and 5.4%.

The research firm Gartner and PC vendors Lenovo, HP, Dell and Apple carry a Zacks Rank of 3 (Hold), at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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