The global PC market (including desktops, notebooks and tablets) is expected to grow 8 per cent in 2021, reaching 496.8 million units with all categories enjoying growth, according to a new report.
Backlogs on device orders from last year are being strengthened by continued demand from workers and students still affected by Covid-19 restrictions.
Growth in 2021 is expected to be frontloaded in the first half of the year, with shipments up 54 per cent in Q1 and 7 per cent in Q2, according to latest forecast from global market research firm Canalys.
Chromebooks and tablets will be bright spots for the industry in 2021, achieving growth of 30 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively, it added.
“Following the boom in 2020, the PC industry is set to grow for years to come,” said Canalys research director Rushabh Doshi.
“Order backlogs and ongoing strong demand present a great short-term opportunity, while the ballooned installed base of PC users presents significant future opportunities for refreshes and upgrades,” Doshi said in a statement.
However, crucial components, such as displays, GPUs and other smaller chips that drive PC internals, will face a squeeze for most of 2021 and well into 2022, leaving a significant amount of demand unfulfilled.
Competition for components from the automotive, smart manufacturing and smart IoT industries will also put pressure on PC vendors, which will see their prioritisation fall.
“Logistics and transportation are also a limiting factor in meeting demand, with vendors turning to more expensive air freight to help cut delivery times. If the industry can overcome these persistent issues, we could see higher growth levels,” Doshi said.
Chromebooks and tablets were both big winners in 2020, and the research firm forecasts a rosy future for both product categories this year and beyond.
“The education segment will continue to be a key driver, with Chromebooks facing some of the most severe order backlogs of any PC category. In developing markets, Android slate tablets will be of particular importance as they support affordable moves to digital education,” said Ishan Dutt, an analyst at Canalys.