Lenovo: PCs are far from dead

The shift to home working during the coronavirus has breathed fresh life into the PC market

Lenovo has heralded a PC resurgence, with the drive to work from home fuelling a boom in PC sales that have turned claims the market is in its death throes on their head.

The firm has seen growth during the pandemic as millions of people had to head home to work and learn, and turned to a PC as the device to help them through those challenges.

Speaking at the Canalys Channel Forum EMEA, the vendor’s corporate president and chief operating officer, Gianfranco Lanci, said that its channel had seen growth in the past few months.

“The pandemic has created a huge shift in how people are working, learning, socialising and consuming products,” he said. “It does accelerate the remote working revolution and it does lead to big demands in computing and technology. Over the past several months, we’ve seen a resurgence in PC sales. Talk of the PC dying and being taken over by tablets and smartphones is over.”

Lanci was prepared to talk of significant growth in the market, partly fuelled by the expectation that even in the “new normal”, high levels of people will be working from home.

“I believe we are on track for a nearly 300 million total PC market in 2021,” he said. “That’s about 20-30 million of additional growth, and this number is significant as we haven’t seen growth like this in over 10 years. The PC-installed base is growing, and the refresh will be a lot quicker.”

Many users went into lockdown using old technology but have since started to upgrade their devices to ensure they have the ability to take advantage of video calls and other comms platforms.

Market growth

Lanci said the firm has seen a 40% increase in growth into the small and medium-sized enterprise market this year, and its datacentre business had seen a 10% improvement in the first half.

“I believe we will continue to see demand beyond 12-18 months as people continue to work from home,” he said about the short-term prospects for the market.

Some categories had fared better than others, with education and prosumer notebooks both on the rise, along with subscription services. Accessories, including monitors and keyboards, had also seen sale uplifts.

Products that typically sit in an office, such as desktops and commercial printers, have seen sales hit by Covid-19, and the future there is looking less positive because of continued remote working trends.

Lanci said that products needed to provide better connectivity, security and comms features, and it was arming the channel with a raft of products that should meet those user requirements.

Speaking at a press roundtable following the Lanci keynote, Fiona O’Brien, head of operations for EMEA at Lenovo, said it was hard to make sales predictions during a pandemic but that it could already chart a significant increase in sales of PCs.

Analysts have been more cautious in their expectations for the year ahead, but there are some signs that coronavirus has rewritten the rules about what is the sustainable level of demand in the PC market.

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