PC market shipments continue to rise despite all odds

PCs, which some have limited to desktops, workstations, and conventional laptops, were once thought to be a dying breed. The proliferation of powerful smartphones and the offloading of computational resources to the cloud are believed to be the cause of the PC market's inevitable but slow demise. And then came 2020 and COVID-19 that almost threw all reason out the window. That was the backdrop that led to this market's revival, and it is now seeing its sixth consecutive quarter of growth, though there are also growing signs of potential problems around the corner.

Notebooks, which doesn't include detachable and slate tablets, may have been the savior of the PC market in the past year and a half. The pandemic that forced everyone home for some time also changed the personal computing market, putting portable PCs back in fashion as people shifted to remote work and schooling arrangements. That caused PC shipments to rise, with a 3.9% increase in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the same period from the prior year.

IDC, however, warns that not everything is rosy, and things are actually starting to slow down or even decline. The same conditions that brought about the PC market growth surge will be the ones causing problems in the long run. That surge in demand for PCs, for example, has contributed to the component and supply shortages we're experiencing now.

While the PC market experienced a little bit of growth in general, not all are winners. The top five vendors practically remain in the same spot as last year, but market leader Lenovo actually saw a slight dip in its share. Dell is the surprising outlier with a 26.6% growth year-on-year.

The market intelligence company doesn't paint a hopeful picture for this market. Supply and inventories still lag behind the demand, which, in turn, hasn't tapered off yet at this point. There isn't any clear indication that the situation regarding component shortages and logistics issues will be resolved any time soon, and whatever growth the PC market may have enjoyed in the past 18 months might soon be lost again.