The PC market is not slowing down after a great 2020, despite chip shortages


The PC market had a great first quarter, despite the global semiconductor chip shortage. Research office Gartner dear that the number of ‘traditional PCs’, i.e. laptops and desktops, is 32 percent higher than in the first quarter of 2020 (through CNBC IDC is pushing the number even higher, with an estimated 55 percent annual growth rate. This seems to be the continuation of a trend – the PC market also had a great 2020.

Both companies agree that growth is atypical – Gartner says growth has been fastest since it began tracking the market in 2000, and IDC says the drop in shipments from Q4 to Q1 is the smallest since 2012. The numbers are impressive too – Gartner estimates just under 70 million PCs shipped, while IDC estimates around 84 million.

Of course, these numbers don’t exist in a vacuum – you may have already realized that the time frame compared to, Q1 2020, was rough for … well, everything, including the manufacturing and shipping of PCs. But while the growth equation is certainly tilted in favor of the first quarter of 2021, both companies estimate that the numbers could have been even higher had it not been for the shortage of chips.

The shortage of silicon has affected almost everything from trucks and cars, consoles and the gaming PC components market. There are even reports that Apple has had to delay production of MacBooks and iPads. IDC points out that the shortage has contributed to higher average prices in the PC market, and that the shortages are likely to make it more difficult to get PCs for the rest of the year.

It’s also worth noting that the pandemic is likely also affecting demand, and the return to normalcy on the horizon could affect people’s buying habits in future quarters. Whether the question will remain or not is not certain, but both IDC and Gartner seem to think so.