Worldwide PC shipments grew due to work-from-home arrangements

PC shipments grew year-over-year for Q2 2020, but IDC and Gartner believe the victory will be short-lived.

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The PC industry bounced back in the second quarter of 2020 after its weakest quarter in years mostly due to shelter-in-place orders prompted by the coronavirus pandemic. According to both Gartner and IDC, PC shipments grew year-over-year in the second quarter — the former says shipments totaled 64.8 million units (a 2.8 percent increase from Q2 2019), while IDC says global shipments reached 72.3 million units, which is 11.2 percent higher compared to the same period last year.

Both organizations attribute the growth to PC production ramping up after supply chains were disrupted in the first quarter and to strong demand, now that more people need computers to work or study from home. “After the PC supply chain was severely disrupted in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the growth this quarter was due to distributors and retail channels restocking their supplies back to near-normal levels,” Gartner research director Mikako Kitagawa said.

The mobile PC or laptop segment did very well, in particular, due to people’s remote learning and working needs. However, both organizations are skeptical that the demand would continue beyond 2020. Kitagawa says the uptick in demand is “short-term... due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.” IDC research vice president Linn Huang issued a similar statement:

"With inventory still back ordered, this goodwill will continue into July. However, as we head deeper into a global recession, the goodwill sentiment will increasingly sour."

Both organizations also noted that traditional PC shipments exceeded expectations in the US and in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. HP and Lenovo topped the list of PC vendors worldwide, with Dell coming in third for both IDC and Gartner.