PC market ends 2021 with a strong finish

For the second year running, those selling PC hardware are celebrating another period of double-digit growth

Despite component shortages, the PC market was able to enjoy a strong finish to the year and close out the last few weeks of 2021 with a flourish.

According to market analysis from Canalys, global PC shipments exceeded 90 million in the fourth quarter for the second consecutive year.

For the full year, the PC market again challenged the narrative that it is in decline, with 15% growth and 341 million units being shipped for 2021 compared to the year before and 27% up on 2019.

“2021 was a watershed year in the history of the PC market, with the PC’s place at the centre of work, learning and leisure truly cemented,” said Ishan Dutt, senior analyst at Canalys.

“For the market to post double-digit growth over an impressive 2020, despite the constant cloud of supply constraints, speaks volumes about how strong PC demand has been over the past 12 months,” he added.

Dutt said that the dynamics in the market were also pointing to the momentum in the market continuing.

“Taking a long-term view, the most important developments in 2021 were the large increases in PC penetration and usage rates. PCs are now in the hands of both young students and older family members, while ownership of two or more PCs per person has become more common in developed markets,” he said.

The pandemic has had significant changes to the ways that PCs are used, and there have been more sales to fresh users than replacement devices.

“This has set the stage for continued success for the PC industry as there is no turning back from how embedded they are in our day-to-day lives,” added Dutt.

In terms of vendors, the rankings have been consistent with Lenovo leading the pack, followed by HP and Dell.

There are reasons to be optimistic about 2022 aside from the buying and usage changes, with many also expecting the component shortages to ease in the second half, and there are hopes that upgrades to take advantage of the latest Microsoft Windows OS will start to trickle through.

Speaking to analysts on the release of its fourth-quarter numbers, the CEO of distributor TD Synnex, Rich Hume, touched on his hopes for the PC market over the course of this year.

“Specific to the PC ecosystem, we remain cautiously optimistic given the opportunities in the commercial space with the Windows 11 refresh cycles and upgrade for advanced security features, offset by some moderation in the consumer segment,” he said.

Others in the industry have pointed to this year as being the moment when the Windows 11 impact will be seen in enterprise PC demand.

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