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PC Sales Grew 16 Percent in 2021

Posted January 13, 2022 | Chromebook | Hardware | Mac and macOS | Windows | Windows 10 | Windows 11

PC makers sold 344.3 million PCs in 2021, a gain of 16 percent over the previous year, marking the third consecutive year of growth. Even more impressive, I think the last time PC sales grew by double digits was 2010. And 2021’s total is not that far off from the industry sales peak of 365.4 million units in 2011.

As always, all of the numbers presented here are an average of the estimates provided by the market researchers at Gartner and IDC.

“2021 saw the highest shipment volume since [2015],” Gartner’s Mikako Kitagawa said. “During the pandemic, shipment growth has been supported by an average selling price (ASP) hike, resulting in higher revenues and a healthier market overall. As a result, annual PC shipment volumes are not expected to decline to pre-pandemic levels for at least two-to-three years.”

“2021 has truly been a return to form for the PC,” IDC’s Jitesh Ubrani added. “Consumer need for PCs in emerging markets and global commercial demand remained strong during the quarter with supply being a gating factor. While consumer and educational demand has tapered in some developed markets, we continue to believe the overall PC market has reset at a much higher level than before the pandemic.”

The top five PC makers haven’t changed positions in several years.

Lenovo was once again the world’s largest maker of PCs, with 83 million units sold and 24.1percent market share. HP wasn’t far behind, with 74.1 million units sold and 21.5 percent market share. Dell (59.5 million units/17.3 percent), Apple (27 million units/7.8 percent), and Acer (24 million units/7 percent) accounted for the rest of the top five.

Interestingly, Apple landed at exactly the same market share last year despite selling more Macs; the rest of the industry grew faster despite the ongoing arrival of more Apple Silicon-based Macs.

Also interesting: the fourth quarter, traditionally the best quarter for the industry, was a bloodbath relative to the rest of the year. PC makers sold 90.6 million units in the quarter, down from the 92.4 million units they had sold in the year-ago quarter. Lenovo took the biggest hit, delivering almost 8 percent fewer PCs in the quarter than it had in Q4 2020.

Gartner and IDC differed a bit on the problems that triggered the fourth-quarter shortfall—the industry-wide component shortage and supply chain issues are the obvious choices—but both agree that 2021 could have been even better otherwise. Imagine that.

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