Lenovo out in front as PC shipments continue to soar

Higher demand from remote workers has carried over into the first quarter of 2021

A Lenovo laptop lid

Lenovo is once again leading a booming PC market with global sales continuing to increase due to the shift to remote working

Gartner estimates put global sales at 69.9 million units for the first three months of the year, up 32% compared to Q1 2020, while IDC suggests the market has grown by 55% year-on-year with an estimated 83.9 million PCs sold during the first quarter.

This, according to Gartner, marks the PC market’s fastest year-over-year growth in two decades.

These figures follow a record-breaking 2020, with PC shipments reaching a 10-year high. The increase has been attributed to the pandemic and the mass switch to remote working, which looks set to continue throughout 2021. 

Both IDC and Gartner estimates have Lenovo as the number one PC maker with roughly 25% of the market. The closest rival to the Chinese giant is HP, which claimed a 20% share of the market in Q1. 

"Unfulfilled demand from the past year has carried forward into the first quarter and additional demand brought on by the pandemic has also continued to drive volume," said Jitesh Ubrani research manager for IDC's Mobile Device Trackers. 

The growth is all the more impressive given the growing issue of component shortages which is also affecting the automotive, smartphone and wider electronics markets. 

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"This growth should be viewed in the context of two unique factors: comparisons against a pandemic-constrained market and the current global semiconductor shortage," Kitagawa said. "Without the shipment chaos in early 2020, this quarter's growth may have been lower."

"While this may lead to lower shipment numbers, it is still reasonable to conclude that PC demand could remain strong even after stay-home restrictions ease. Moving forward, vendors and suppliers will be closely balancing the need to meet underlying demand without creating excess inventory."

Gartner's estimates did not include Chromebook shipments, which were reported as "through the roof" for the final quarter of 2020. The firm suggests that the first three months of 2021 saw 'triple figure' sales from Chromebooks, pushing the PC market to 47% growth when included. 

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