PC shipments climb 13% in 2020, marking highest increase in a decade

According to IDC, PC shipments came to 302.6 million units in 2020, showing 13.1% growth over the previous year.
Written by Natalie Gagliordi, Contributor

Thanks to remote work and online learning, consumer demand for PCs surged throughout 2020 to the highest levels the market has seen in a decade, according to IDC.

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 91.6 million units in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to the research firm's latest quarterly tracker, for a 26% increase from Q4 2019. For the full year, PC shipments came to 302.6 million units, showing 13.1% growth over the previous year. 

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: 


When Lenovo outlined its second quarter results Nov. 3., the company said Chromebooks were seeing strong demand and rising average prices. The PC maker expects that trend to continue with introduction of 5G Chromebooks. In HP's fourth quarter, the company saw revenue in notebooks jump 18%.

According to IDC, the PC market hasn't seen annual growth of this magnitude since 2010, when the market grew 13.7%. In the following 10 years, the PC market experienced six straight years of decline, as well as a year of flat growth. 

Also: Google Chromebook demand booms for Dell, HP, Lenovo

"Demand is pushing the PC market forward and all signs indicate this surge still has a way to go," said Ryan Reith, program VP with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. "The obvious drivers for last year's growth centered around work from home and remote learning needs, but the strength of the consumer market should not be overlooked. We continue to see gaming PCs and monitor sales at all-time highs and Chrome-based devices are expanding beyond education into the consumer market. In retrospect, the pandemic not only fueled PC market demand but also created opportunities that resulted in a market expansion."

Gartner also released its 2020 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 79.4 million units in Q4 2020, a 10.7% increase from the same quarter a year ago. For the full year, PC shipments reached 275 million units, a 4.8% increase from 2019. Gartner and IDC are in agreement that PC growth in 2020 was the highest it's been in 10 years.

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