Even desktops showed up on growth radar in global PC shipment stakes for 2021

341 million units sold last year, up 15%


The humble PC was one of the hottest selling tech items in 2021 with shipments into the channel jumping 15 per cent globally to 341 million amid a pandemic that continues to force people to work, study, and play at home.

The data, collated by Canalys, includes calendar Q4 sales of around 92 million units. The revenue generated by these shipped boxes is estimated at $70bn, itself up 11 per cent year-on-year as manufacturers juggled with tighter supply of components by prioritising production of higher margin tin.

"2021 was a watershed year in the history of the PC market, with the PCs place at the center of work, learning and leisure truly cemented," said Ishan Dutt, senior analyst at Canalys, in a statement.

According to the figures, Lenovo declined 6.5 per cent in Q4 to 21.7 million units and HP was down 3 per cent to 18.64 million. Canalys didn't indicate why either shrank but presumably it is related to the scarce supply of parts including integrated circuits and panels. We asked both vendors.

Dell grew almost 9 per cent to 17.19 million, Apple shipped 9 per cent more Macs to 7.8 million, and Acer grew 6.7 per cent to 6.58 million.

Vendor (company) 2021 shipments 2021 market share 2020 shipments 2020 market share Annual growth
Lenovo 82.142 million 24.1% 72.646 million 24.4% 13.1%
HP 74.07 million 21.7% 67.688 million 22.7% 9.5%
Dell 59.3 million 17.4% 50.273 million 16.9% 18.0%
Apple 28.958 million 8.5% 22.574 million 7.6% 28.3%
Acer 24.383 million 7.1% 20.023 million 6.7% 21.8%
Others 72.198 million 21.2% 64.430 million 21.6% 12.1%
Total 341.053 million 100% 297.614 million 100% 14.6%

As for the entire year, in addition to total shipments growing 15 per cent to 341 million, Canalys said those boxes were worth more than $250bn, which also equated to 15 per cent growth. This is the largest total since 2012.

Notebook and mobile workstations reached 275 million shipments in 2021, up 16 per cent. Desktops and desktop workstations grew 7 per cent to 66 million.

"For the market to post double-digit growth over an impressive 2020, despite the constant cloud of supply constraints, speaks volumes about how strong PC demand has been over the last 12 months," said Dutt.

PC penetration and usage rates were the most important developments of last year, he added, with young students and older family members in the West owning at least one device.

"Since the onset of the pandemic, a larger than normal proportion of PCs shipped have been new additions to the installed base rather than replacement devices, especially in areas such as education and remote work," said Dutt.

"This has set the stage for continued success for the PC industry as there is no turning back from how embedded they are in our day-to-day lives." ®

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