For the second and third quarter of 2020, sales of laptop and desktop computers have seen a huge boost as wage earners and students secure machines for their work-at-home and online learning requirements. The latest sales figures show the trend will continue throughout the remainder of 2020 and well into 2021.
The demand for PCs (i.e., laptops and desktops collectively) is so high that, in fact, shipments have reached levels not seen since 2007, when smartphones were fairly new and had yet to eat the market share away.
Analyst estimates put PC shipments this year at 300 million, a 15-percent year-on-year boost. Per research company Canalys, PCs along with tablets will reach 1.77 billion sales by end-2021, up 130 million from 2018. Smartphone sales, meanwhile, are reportedly on the decline.
With higher demand, shortages are expected. Aside from consumers, government stimulus packages are spurring education and business sectors to adopt more PCs, adding strain to the PC supply. Shortages on PC components themselves, plus logistics issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic, further exacerbate the problem. Per analyst firm IDC, the PC shortage may last until 2022.
PC vendors have been trying to speed up their manufacturing processes, but fulfillment of outstanding orders is expected to be months away.