PC Shipments Declined 5 Percent in 4Q21 but Grew 10 Percent for the Year

PC Shipments Declined 5 Percent in 4Q21 but Grew 10 Percent for the Year

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Worldwide PC shipments totaled 88.4 million units in the fourth quarter of 2021, a 5% decrease from the fourth quarter of 2020, according to preliminary results by Gartner. This is the first year-over-year decline following six consecutive quarters of growth. For the year, PC shipments reached 339.8 million units in 2021, a 9.9% increase from 2020.

“A sharp decline in the U.S. PC market, caused by ongoing supply chain issues and the collapse in demand for Chromebooks, drove this quarter’s slowdown,” said Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner. “This likely signifies the end of the massive and unexpected growth in PC demand triggered by the pandemic. However, the fourth quarter’s decline only slightly tempered the PC market’s growth in 2021, which saw the highest shipment volume since 2013. During the pandemic, shipment growth has been supported by an average selling price (ASP) hike, resulting in higher revenues and a healthier market overall. As a result, annual PC shipment volumes are not expected to decline to pre-pandemic levels for at least 2-3 years.”

The top three vendors in the worldwide PC market remained unchanged in the fourth quarter of 2021, with Lenovo maintaining the No. 1 spot in shipments ahead of HP, Dell, Apple, Acer, and Asus. Lenovo’s shipments fell nearly 12% in 4Q21, the first period of year-over-year decline for the company since the 1Q20. This decline was due to the slowed U.S. market, weak Chromebook demand, and supply chain issues, which impeded Lenovo’s ability to supply PCs to enterprise customers. These factors also contributed to HP’s 4% decline; however, HP’s decline was tempered by robust growth in the Asia Pacific market. Dell gained market share this period after notching a fifth consecutive quarter of growth. Shipment volume exceeded 17 million units for the first time in the company's history, led by strong performance in Latin America, EMEA, and the Asia Pacific.

The U.S. PC market saw its second consecutive quarter of double-digit decline during the fourth quarter of 2021, with shipments declining 24.2% year-over-year. This decrease was largely driven by weak Chromebook shipments as demand from educational institutions continued to slow. The EMEA PC market grew 7.4% year-over-year, reaching 26 million units, the highest volume in five years. This growth was led by business PC demand associated with increasing economic and social recovery, like many businesses, schools and universities began to return to in-person operations. Excluding Japan, the Asia Pacific market grew by 11.5% year-over-year. The mobile PC market was particularly strong in the region, as many private enterprises pre-ordered extra mobile PCs in anticipation of potential market shortages.

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 339.8 million units in 2021, a 9.9% increase from 2020. Lenovo had most shipments in 2021, ahead of HP, Dell, Apple, Acer, and Asus. After a long period of decline and occasional modest growth, the pandemic revived the PC industry, as evidenced by 2021’s continued strong growth. Gartner expects PC demand to slow for at least the next two years, but annual shipment volumes are not expected to decline to pre-pandemic levels in that period.

“The pandemic significantly changed business and consumer PC user behavior, as people had to adopt to new ways of working and living,” said Kitagawa. “Post-pandemic, some of the newly established ways of using PCs will remain regular practice, such as remote or hybrid workstyles, taking online courses and communicating with friends and family online.”

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