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Gaming PC and monitor market hits record high

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Throughout 2020, the global pandemic created new opportunities for many consumer technologies and gaming PCs and monitors have arguably been among the greatest beneficiaries. As consumers spent more hours at home and fewer dollars outside, shipments of gaming PCs and monitors grew 26.8% year-over-year in 2020 to 55 million units, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Gaming Tracker. The growth rate and unit volume were the fastest and largest numbers recorded since IDC began tracking this market in 2016.

Aside from the sheer volume, 2020 brought other milestones that could alter future trends. North America and Western Europe combined overtook Asia/Pacific (including Japan) as the largest market for the first time, largely due to lockdown-induced demand. Gaming notebooks remained the biggest volume driver through a year marked by home restrictions. Despite being affected by display panel shortages through much of the year, gaming notebooks grew a record 26.9% in 2020 as consumers appreciated their versatility for both work and play. In parallel with PCs, gaming monitors also reached new heights in 2020, growing more than 77% compared to 2019 with shipments reaching 14.3 million units.

Looking ahead, IDC expects the gaming market to remain a bright spot after the overall PC market returns to more normal replacement cycles after the pandemic. While gaming desktops will continue to fade in favour of notebooks, their demise will be more than made up for by notebooks and monitors. For example, IDC expects gaming monitor volume will exceed that of gaming desktops for the first time in 2021.

Even as gaming desktops increasingly fall out of favour, except for the DIY and hardcore gaming segments, growing monitor attach rates to gaming notebooks means the gaming monitor market is expected to see a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 10%. IDC expects this momentum to carry forward as global volumes reach 72.9 million in 2025 with a CAGR of 5.8%.

“Unfortunately, the supply of gaming PCs has tumbled recently and while crypto-mining may be partially to blame, the sheer demand for these products and growth in the player base is more likely the root cause of the shortages,” says Jitesh Ubrani research manager for IDC’s Worldwide Mobile and Consumer Device Trackers. “New GPUs, new games, added support for ray-tracing, and the growth in demand have also led to an increase in average selling prices during 2020 and will likely remain at these elevated levels in 2021.”

“Much like the notebook market, monitors also faced panel component shortages and surging demand,” says Jay Chou, research manager for IDC’s Worldwide PC Monitor Tracker. “OEMs have to be wise about where to allocate scarce resources and it makes sense to meet gaming display demand as commercial buying and office occupancy in many markets remains weak. IDC expects gaming monitors to capture an increasingly larger share of the total monitor market in the years ahead.”

PC Gaming Forecast by Product Category, 2020-2025 (shipments in millions)

Product
Category
2020
Shipments
2020
Average
Selling
Price
2021
Shipments*
2021
Average
Selling
Price*
2025
Shipments*
2025
Average
Selling
Price*
2020-2025
CAGR
Desktop 16.7 $762 17.5 $750 15.7 $721 -1.2%
Monitor 14.3 $338 19.7 $352 23.5 $343 10.5%
Notebook 24.0 $1,041 27.9 $1,055 33.7 $1,030 7.0%
TOTAL 55.0 65.1 72.9 5.8%

Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Gaming Device Tracker, March 29, 2021

* Table Note: Figures represent forecast data.

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