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It was always going to be difficult making comparisons in the PC world between this year’s second quarter and the same period in 2020, when the lockdown was in full swing and users were grabbing hardware from wherever they could to work at home.
Despite its strong performance last year, the PC industry has still managed to grow across Western Europe by 3%, with the market continuing to grow as the Covid lockdown lifestyle remains in place for many users.
A market analysis from Canalys has found that 15 million units, desktops, notebooks and workstations were shifted across Western Europe in Q2. Things would have been even better without the component shortages that have been plaguing the industry throughout the past year.
“Demand is still strong,” said Trang Pham, research analyst at Canalys. “Western Europe has emerged into a post-Covid ‘new normal’, a rapidly digitising world, as shown by the robust shipment numbers. Had supply issues been resolved, we could have seen even higher growth in the PC market.”
The top three in the market – Lenovo, HP and Dell – have managed to keep sales moving and the battle for market share has involved making sure there are enough units to meet customer orders.
“In a time of high demand and short supply, vendors can secure market share by fulfilling orders more quickly,” said Pham. “Lenovo’s global leading market position gave it greater bargaining power with suppliers, allowing it to fulfil orders faster than its competitors, especially in Western Europe. Previous leader HP, in comparison, was unable to maintain the required balance between the US and Europe, which resulted in the vendor losing its top spot in Western Europe.”
Tablets have been popular, with 18% shipment growth across Western Europe in Q2, and Lenovo has also been making a challenge to Apple and pushing its own options, delivering an 87% increase in shipments in the second quarter.
The channel has been expecting PC upgrades to kick in as offices have reopened, users return to ageing hardware and look to invest in better experiences. That might drive some more spending, but Canalys has indicated that stellar sales driven by the pandemic will be hard to repeat going forward.
Canalys research manager Ben Stanton said: “Many workers have now been asked to return to the office, students have been attending classes since early March and social gatherings are once again popular. Overall, the economic recovery looks promising in Western Europe. Demand for PC products is still growing, but is unlikely to skyrocket again without another catalyst as strong as the 2020 pandemic’s digital acceleration.”
The noises coming out of all the leading analyst houses about the state of the PC market have been positive, but component shortages are expected to drag on into 2022 and the pressure on vendors and their channel partners to navigate those supply issues will continue.