PC Monitor Volume Hits an 8-Year High in 3Q20
Tremendous demand fueled by working and learning from home led the global PC monitor market to impressive heights during the back-to-school quarter (3Q20), according to IDC. Volume grew 15.9% compared to the same quarter last year. Global shipments far surpassed expectations at more than 37.5 million units, a number last exceeded during the third quarter of 2012.
Prior to the lockdowns that occurred in March for many regions, expectations for this year had been modest following a solid 2019 performance led by commercial PC migrations to Windows 10 that also helped displays. However, the swiftness and urgency with which businesses and schools had to move toward virtual modes led first to a scramble for PCs then a corollary demand for monitors. Both the second and third quarter of 2020 have produced solid year-on-year growth PC monitor shipments.
Even as the overall volume expanded significantly, long-held determinants of the market flipped. Consumer demand drove much of the recent upswing with nearly half of the market coming from consumer shipments, a sizable reversal from recent years when businesses took a little over 60% of volume. The top 5 players commanded a smaller share of the market in the third quarter versus a year ago as IT budgets shifted, and office occupancy remained low. Notably, commercially focused Dell and HP experienced contractions while online and consumer-facing channels grew, which favored smaller and more consumer-focused vendors.
"The tough conditions wrought by COVID-19 have led to an unexpected reassessment of the PC monitor for the home," said Jay Chou, research manager for IDC’s Quarterly PC Monitor Tracker. "Whether it is studying, working, or gaming, many consumers have a newfound consideration for their long-neglected monitors as uncertainty about office and school attendance persist. With inventory still at healthy levels and enticing promotions for gaming as well as bigger displays, IDC believes the solid momentum should last well into the first half of 2021."
In addition to upward demand pressures, the monitor ecosystem has wrestled with other constraints. While Chinese manufacturing and logistics have largely recovered, a shortage of some monitor components as well as consolidation among panel makers have led to fears of fulfillment issues and price hikes, causing monitor vendors to boost production, and leading to spiked shipments for the short term. However, looking past 2021, IDC expects a market wind down as consumer demand cools with gradual declines persisting through the forecast horizon of 2024 and settling at a flat five-year compound annual growth rate from 2019.