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COVID-19 drives fleeting PC surge

COVID-19 drives fleeting PC surge

Growth prediction of 3.3 per cent to 425.7 million units globally

Credit: Dreamstime

The COVID-19 pandemic is predicted to drive solid short-term demand for PCs and tablets around the world by the end of 2020.

The personal computing devices (PCD) market, which includes PCs, tablets and work stations, is forecast to see growth in 2020 of 3.3 per cent, year-on-year, to 425.7 million units shipped.

This is according to IDC, with the research firm going as far to say that demand is predicted to temporarily outpace supply, driven mostly by remote working and education.

The forecast comes as an updated version of its Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker report, with IDC previously predicting back in February that the PCD market would fall 9 per cent, year-on-year, by the year's end.

This growth forecast is notable given 2019’s “unusually strong PC market” due to commercial purchases following end-of-support transitions, according to the research firm.

Leading IDC’s updated 2020 forecast is the notebook market with an expected market share of 46.6 per cent and 198.3 million shipments. 

This is followed by slate tablets with 20.5 per cent market share and 87.5 million shipments, desktops at 17.1 per cent market share and 72.8 million shipments, detachable tablets at 14.6 per cent market share and 62.1 million units and then workstations at 1.2 per cent market share and 5 million shipments.

However, this growth is expected to be short-lived, with the PCD market predicted to decline in 2021 due to businesses and consumers dealing with the economic uncertainty created by the coronavirus. This is expected to bleed through to 2024 with long-term decline at compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of -2.2 per cent during the next four years.

The education sector in particular is expected to struggle with notebook shortages, according to Jitesh Ubrani, research manager of IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers.

He claimed that schools are having difficulties sourcing notebooks for students, with increased demand, short-term supply component shortages and longer-term uncertainty around schooling causing schools to stockpile as many devices as they can.

"Unfortunately, these additional purchases during 2020 means that many schools will have blown through their future budgets, which will contribute to double-digit declines in the education segment during 2021 and 2022," Ubrani said.

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