Global PC shipments remained steady in Q2, but declines are on the horizon

According to IDC's latest quarterly PC sales tracker, consumer buying trends have begun to taper off, as the 13% growth rate in Q2 is significantly lower than the 55.9% growth seen last quarter.

Global PC shipments remained steady in the second quarter, as pandemic-related supply chain and components shortages fueled pent up consumer demand. According to IDC's latest quarterly tracker, worldwide PC shipments totaled 83.6 million units in the second quarter of 2021, marking a 13.2% increase from Q2 2020. 

However, even though annual growth remains high, buying trends have begun to taper off as the 13% growth rate in Q2 2021 is significantly lower than the 55.9% growth seen last quarter. The pandemic spurred massive growth in PC buying across vendors through 2020 and 2021, but analysts are predicting year-on-year declines in shipments as spending priorities begin to shift.

"The market faces mixed signals as far as demand is concerned," said Neha Mahajan, senior research analyst with IDC's Devices and Displays Group. "With businesses opening back up, demand potential in the commercial segment appears promising. However, there are also early indicators of consumer demand slowing down as people shift spending priorities after nearly a year of aggressive PC buying."

IDC defines the PC market as desktops, notebooks (including Chromebooks) and workstations but not tablets or x86 Servers. The top 3 vendors remain unchanged from a year ago, with Lenovo taking the No. 1 spot with a 25.2% share of the PC market, according to IDC. HP and Dell were No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, with Apple and Acer rounding out the top five. 

Here's the global standings via IDC, broken down by Q2 2021 shipments: 

  1. Lenovo: 20,005
  2. HP Inc: 18,594
  3. Dell Technologies: 13,976
  4. Apple: 6,156
  5. Acer Group: 6,088

Gartner also released its second quarter 2021 PC vendor results on Monday. Gartner's data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs and ultramobile premiums (such as Microsoft Surface), but not Chromebooks or iPads. 

By Gartner's tally, PC shipments totaled 71.6 million units in Q2, a mere 4.6% increase from the same quarter a year ago. Gartner and IDC are in agreement that PC growth in 2021 will be tempered by the ongoing semiconductor shortage.

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