Despite the shortage of graphics cards, fourth-quarter global PC shipments topped 90 million.

And this for the second year in a row.

As a result, PC revenue now stands at $70 billion for this quarter.

A very optimistic report on the PC market

On January 12, Canalys published a promising encouraging report on the state of the PC market.

While many expected a drop in post-deconfinement PC shipments, the opposite happened.

"If 2021 was the year of digital transformation, 2022 will be the year of digital acceleration," said Canalys principal analyst Rushabh Doshi.

The research firm estimates that vendors shipped 92 million new PCs in the last quarter of 2021, up from 91 million at the end of 2020. That pulled up total shipments for the whole of 2021 to 341 million units, 15% more than last year and 27% more than 2019. To put those numbers into perspective, the PC market hasn't shipped that many units in a single year since 2012.

By PC, the statistics count desktops and laptops.

The sale of tablets is not taken into account.

The pandemic laptop boom

The annual growth rate underscores how much the importance of PCs has increased since the start of the pandemic.

Indeed, in 2020 and 2021, the need to study and work from home has caused shipments to explode.

"This has set the stage for the continued success of the PC industry, because there is no turning back, as PCs are integrated into our daily lives," said Ishan Dutt, principal analyst at Canalys.

As a result, the sector recorded strong revenue increases.

The total value of fourth quarter shipments is US$70 billion.

This represents an annual increase of 11% compared to the fourth quarter of 2020.

Changing needs

To justify these figures, the report offers several explanations.

First, many users bought new PCs rather than repairing or optimizing the devices they already owned.

“As PC vendors navigate an increasingly complicated situation, consumer habits are changing,” says Rushabh Doshi.

In the epidemic context of 2021, distance learning students and seniors have purchased their first computer.

According to Canalys, PCs are now "in the hands of young students and older family members".

Thus this growth would be linked to a cultural change concerning the adoption of PC technology.

According to the Canalys analyst, “the importance of faster, more efficient, more resilient and more secure PCs has never been greater”.

As a side note, owning two or more PCs per person has become more common in developed markets.

According to the study, the increase in laptop sales suggests a desire among users to combine the performance of a desktop computer with the mobility of a portable device.

Apple and Acer, the big winners

Some PC brands performed better.

HP, Lenovo, Dell, Apple and Acer maintained their respective positions in the top 5 shipments.

Most notably, Apple and Acer increased their shipments by more than 20% compared to 2020. While leaders Lenovo and HP saw the slowest growth of the leaders in 2021. Their shipments fell in the very last quarter.

“The importance of faster, better performing, more resilient and more secure PCs has never been greater, and the industry is ready to innovate and push the envelope to keep this momentum going,” concludes the analyst.

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