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PCs still on a high in 2021 as demand booms

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Despite many regions beginning their reopening process from Covid-19, PC demand across the globe remains strong and in some cases at record levels exiting 2020. The largest drivers of demand continue to be consumers and students needing reliable systems to be productive and connected, and corporate upgrades. The International Data Corporation (IDC) also believes strong demand exists for new PCs to enable hybrid use cases that will be required as the world finds a post COVID-19 normal.

In 2020, PC shipments grew 12.9%; this momentum is expected to carry forward into 2021 as IDC forecasts 18.2% growth for the traditional PC market with shipments reaching 357.4 million this year. Looking further ahead IDC’s outlook remains stronger than historical levels with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.5% for the 2020-2025 forecast period.

“While companies around the world continue to determine reopening plans and what the ‘new normal’ will look like, PC demand will experience meaningful tailwinds,” says Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. “This is all happening while education backlogs continue to grow and retail channel inventory in many geographies is still well below historical levels. IDC estimates the backlog of PC shipments heading into 2021 was large and depending on how long this demand continues there is a strong likelihood we will enter 2022 with an outsized backlog, albeit not as significant as current levels.”

Supply concerns for the PC industry remain, specifically around integrated circuits (ICs), but as the demand outlook continues to move upward so does the pressure on suppliers to increase capacity. Assuming no further supply disruptions, PC supply and manufacturing capacity should be in balance by the middle of 2021.

“While component shortages will continue to affect the market, we anticipate the supply issues will start to alleviate just after mid-year,” says Jitesh Ubrani research manager for IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. “Consumer demand has also skyrocketed and while this heightened demand will not last beyond 2021, PC shipments are expected to stay well above pre-pandemic levels as consumers continue to shift spending from other categories towards tech and activities such as gaming help drive the market.”

The IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker gathers data in more than 90 countries and provides detailed, timely, and accurate information on the global personal computing device market. This includes data and insight into global trends around desktops, notebooks, detachable tablets, slate tablets, and workstations. In ddition to insightful analysis, the program delivers quarterly market share data and a five-year forecast by country. The research includes historical and forecast trend analysis.

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