IDC predicts PC sales will remain strong through the end of the year before slumping again in 2021
Sales of personal computers soared 3.3% in the first half of 2020, due largely to the shift to remote working during the pandemic. IDC says demand for PCs — traditional computers, tablets, and workstations — will continue through the end of the year before resuming its decade-long decline in 2021.
The Lowdown: IDC says the surge in PC sales is only temporary. Businesses, school districts, and consumers are scrambling to find machines that fit their new work-from-home computing needs. PC manufacturers have seen sales soar during the pandemic, but are struggling to keep up with demand due to disrupted manufacturing capacity and component shortages.
The Details: The Windows 7 end of life and the late-stage migration to Windows 10 by many businesses and individuals resulted in 2019 being a stronger PC sales year than expected. The pandemic pushed sales even higher. IDC says PC manufacturers will ship more than 425 million units this year to meet the demand. While sales increased 3.3% this year, so far, IDC says sales will decline in 2021 as businesses and individuals slow spending due to the lingering effects of the pandemic and economic uncertainty. The long-term forecast is for PC sales to decline at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of -2.2% between 2020 and 2024.
The Impact: PC sales are the bright spot in the pandemic for PC manufacturers and partners. The major PC brands — HP, Dell, and Lenovo — reported that high demand for PC buoyed their earnings and profits while other product segments — printers, servers, data center equipment — slumped.
The Buzz: “Consumers have been stuck at home, unable to spend on restaurants, movies, and other day-to-day activities,” said David Myhrer, research vice president for IDC’s Consumer Technology Strategy Service. “Technology has been the big winner in all of this as device spending has been especially surprising, with spend at year-end, holiday-like levels throughout much of the second quarter.”