Worldwide PC shipments totaled 84.1 million units in the third quarter of 2021, an increase of 1% from the third quarter of 2020, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. As COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available, consumer and educational spending began to shift away from PCs to other priorities, slowing momentum in the market.
“As many schools worldwide reopened, there was no longer an immediate need for PCs and Chromebooks to support at-home education,” said Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner.
“Business PC demand remained strong, led by economic recovery in key regions and the return of some workers to offices,” added Kitagawa. “However, business PC growth was concentrated in the desktop segment as semiconductor shortages continued to constrain laptop shipments. These component shortages are expected to persist into the first half of 2022.”
Beginning this quarter, Gartner has included Chromebooks in its traditional PC market results. Chromebook shipments declined 17% in the third quarter of 2021, due to decreased demand in the education market. This was the first double-digit year-over-year decline in Chromebook sales since its introduction to the market in 2011.
The top three vendors in the worldwide PC market remained unchanged year-over-year, with Lenovo maintaining the No. 1 spot in shipments.
After five consecutive quarters of double-digit growth, Lenovo’s growth was tempered in the third quarter of 2021. Lenovo saw growth in all regions except Japan, where shipments declined by over 50%, as a government program in the region to purchase PCs for educational use largely came to an end. Overall, Lenovo’s shipments were adversely affected by the slowdown in the consumer market and supply shortages in the enterprise market. Simultaneously, Lenovo benefited from stable business PC demands and was able to be more flexible in responding to component shortages due to a higher mix of in-house manufacturing.
HP experienced its second consecutive quarter of year-over-year decline, driven by a 30% decrease in shipments in the U.S. due to the weakening Chromebook demand in the education segment. HP also continued to face supply chain issues this quarter: A major backlog of unfilled orders led HP to potentially miss out opportunities that its competitors capitalized upon.