After years of bad news, PC shipments saw growth in 2019, only to have the coronavirus pandemic cut the celebration short in Q1 2020. Now for some good news: The PC market grew between 2.8% and 11.2% in Q2 2020, according to research firms Gartner and IDC. Gartner called the rebound “a short-term recovery,” while IDC classified it as “strong demand driven by work-from-home as well as e-learning needs.”
The PC market saw six years of quarterly PC shipment declines, followed by mixed quarters in 2018 and 2019. Last year was more good than bad: Q1 was negative, while Q2, Q3, and Q4 were positive. The Windows 10 refresh cycle drove 2019 gains in the business market — Microsoft ended support for Windows 7 on January 14. Similarly, 2020 was expected to see gains thanks to 5G and dual-screen devices. Instead, we saw reduced supply due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in China (the world’s largest supplier of PCs), leading to the sharpest decline in years. Now it looks like supply constraints have been addressed, while a rise in work from home and distance learning is driving more demand from businesses and consumers alike.
Gartner estimates that worldwide PC shipments grew 2.8% to 64.8 million units in Q2 2020. The top six vendors were Lenovo (+0.3%), HP (+3.0%), Dell (-0.5%), Apple (+0.1%), Acer (+0.9%), and Asus (+0.8%). As you can see in the chart below, Gartner found that in the top six, only Dell saw a decline in PC shipments for Q2 2020, which is surprising given that only Dell saw gains in Q1 2020.
HP was the big winner, finally catching up to Lenovo. Dell is a distant third, but it’s still closer to the top two than Apple, Acer, and Asus are to it. Last year, Dell’s growth was outpacing its bigger rivals.
(Gartner also shares U.S.-specific figures and in Q3 2018 found that Microsoft had broken into the top 5 PC vendors. The company has held onto this position every quarter since. But that’s U.S.-only — Microsoft still doesn’t appear on worldwide charts.)
IDC estimates worldwide PC shipments grew 11.2% to 72.3 million shipments in Q2 2020. The top five vendors in IDC’s results were HP (+1.4%), Lenovo (-0.8%), Dell (-1.3%), Apple (+1.4%), and Acer (+0.1%). IDC found Lenovo’s share declined, which let HP move into first place. Dell rounded out the top three as always, and per IDC declined as well.
While the deadline to upgrade away from Windows 7 is long gone, there are still hundreds of millions of computers that need Windows 10. Businesses that dragged their feet before might want to reconsider, especially as Q2 2020 showed us that Q1 2020 was the odd one out. People are depending on PCs more, not less.