By Maria Armental


Personal computer sales rose at the fastest year-over-year rate in two decades, extending the pandemic-related boost as remote work and learning took hold and cementing a fundamental shift around PCs, according to industry data.

Gartner Inc. said PC shipments rose to 69.9 million in the first quarter, a 32% increase that was the fastest year-over-year growth since the firm began tracking the PC market in 2000.

While Gartner doesn't include Chromebooks in its tally, it said Chromebook shipments more than tripled in the first quarter, driven by schools and other educational institutions in North America.

International Data Corp., meanwhile, pegged world-wide shipments at 84 million. Similarly, Canalys said PC shipments reached 82.7 million, which it said were the highest first-quarter shipment figures since 2012 and were driven in part by backlogs on orders from 2020, particularly for notebooks.

Much of the difference in the tallies from the data providers comes from how each company defines PCs.

Analysts, which point to a reversal of a yearslong phone-first focus, say gaming, higher performance notebooks and education are driving PC demand.

In 2020, PC sales registered their strongest growth in a decade, underscoring a shift to computers from mobile devices during the coronavirus pandemic, according to industry data.

IDC and Canalys pointed to continued component shortages and logistics issues that have contributed to the higher average selling prices.

Semiconductor shortages are affecting the supply chain once again, "with shipment lead times for some PCs extending to as long as four months," said Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner.

"While this may lead to lower shipment numbers, it is still reasonable to conclude that PC demand could remain strong even after stay-home restrictions ease," Ms. Kitagawa said. "Moving forward, vendors and suppliers will be closely balancing the need to meet underlying demand without creating excess inventory."

Lenovo Group Ltd. was ranked as the No. 1 vendor, followed by HP Inc. and Dell Technologies Inc., which Gartner said had lost some market share. Apple Inc. and Acer Inc. rounded out the top five.


Write to Maria Armental at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 12, 2021 16:15 ET (20:15 GMT)

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