The troubled PC market may be set for a strong showing in 2022 after shipments saw a significant rise last year, new figures have shown.
Gartner’s latest results show that worldwide PC shipments grew nearly 10% last year compared to 2020, reaching 339.8 million units in 2021 as businesses across the world upgraded their hardware to deal with the rise of hybrid working due to the ongoing pandemic.
This was despite shipments actually falling around 5% in the last quarter of 2021, where 88.4 million units were reported.
Lenovo took top spot once again as 2021’s largest PC vendor, recording 84.0 million shipments to take a 24.7% market share – a 10.4% increase on 2020’s figures.
Apple could only manage fourth place, with its 25.9 million shipments in 2021 seeing it gain a 7.6% market share, although this was an 18.1% rise on 2020.
Numbers were harmed by a sharp decline in the US PC market, which saw a second consecutive quarter of double-digit decline during the fourth quarter of 2021, and overall shipments declining -24.2% compared to 2020.
Gartner says the fall can largely be put down to falling demand from schools and universities for low-cost Chromebook devices as home learning became the norm.
The ongoing chip shortage and supply chain issues also hit the US market hard, with lukewarm demand over the holiday period also harming shipment numbers.
In contrast, the EMEA region saw a growth of 7.4% year over year to record 26 million units, the highest volume in five years as business demand soared, with the Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) market also growing by 11.5% year over year as many private enterprises pre-ordered extra mobile PCs in anticipation of potential market shortages.
Despite the strong showing, Gartner still says it expects the global PC industry to decline over the next two years as demand for new devices falls – although it says this should not accept shipments.
“The pandemic significantly changed business and consumer PC user behaviour, as people had to adopt to new ways of working and living,” said Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner. “Post-pandemic, some of the newly established ways of using PCs will remain regular practice, such as remote or hybrid workstyles, taking online courses and communicating with friends and family online.”