PC market has best quarter in a decade

Personal computer shipments rose in the third quarter, with the U.S. market having its best performance in a decade, on demand from consumers working and studying remotely.

PC makers shipped 3.6% more devices in the three-month period compared with a year earlier, for a total of 71.4 million units, according to preliminary data released Monday by researcher Gartner Inc.

Shipments of Chromebooks, cheaper web-based laptops that run Google’s Chrome operating system, soared about 90% in the third quarter from a year earlier. That lifted overall market growth to 9%, according to Gartner. The firm usually excludes these machines from its reports, but Chromebooks now represent about 11% of the overall market.

In the U.S., shipments rose 11% year over year, the first time in 10 years the region has seen double-digit growth, Gartner noted.

PC makers have solved their supply chain disruptions related to the Covid-19 pandemic and are now able to meet demand from those forced to work or study at home. Consumer demand was as strong as it has been in five years, and distance learning, especially in the U.S., drove the jump in Chromebook shipments.

“The market is no longer being measured in the number of PCs per household; rather, the dynamics have shifted to account for one PC per person,” Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa said.

Lenovo Group retained its lead with 26% of shipments, followed by HP Inc with 22% and Dell Technologies Inc with 15%. Apple Inc. accounted for 8% of the market, up from 6% share in the same period a year earlier, Gartner said. Those stats exclude Chromebooks and iPads.

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PC market has best quarter in a decade