Is the dream run of PC vendors that saw unprecedented growth in shipments coming to end? The global PC shipments, which witnessed a growth for six consecutive quarters, see a decline in the fourth quarter.

Dragged by supply chain issues and a drop in demand for Chromebooks in the US market, the global PC shipments show a decline at 88.4 million units in the fourth quarter, a drop of 5 per cent when compared to the shipments in the same quarter previous year, it said.

However, the Asia-Pacific region, sans Japan, showed a growth of over 11 per cent in the fourth quarter.

However, the total shipments for the year showed an increase of 9.9 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) to reach 339.8 million units, Gartner said, citing preliminary research findings.

“A sharp decline in the US PC market, caused by ongoing supply chain issues and the collapse in demand for Chromebooks, drove this quarter’s slowdown,” Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner, said.

“This likely signifies the end of the massive and unexpected growth in PC demand triggered by the pandemic,” she said.

The fourth quarter’s decline only slightly tempered the PC market’s growth in 2021, which saw the highest shipment volume since 2013.

“During the pandemic, shipment growth has been supported by an average selling price (ASP) hike, resulting in higher revenues and a healthier market overall. As a result, annual PC shipment volumes are not expected to decline to pre-pandemic levels for at least 2-3 years,” she said.

The top three vendors in the worldwide PC market remained unchanged in the fourth quarter of 2021, with Lenovo maintaining the top spot in shipments.

Though it retained the top slot with sales of 21.70 million units, Lenovo’s worldwide PC shipments fell nearly 12 per cent, resulting in the drop of its market share to 24.6 per cent from 26.5 per cent in the same quarter last year.

HP, with 18 million units, slightly increased its share to 21.1 per cent (20.9 per cent). It, however, saw a decline of 4.2 per cent.

Supply chain constraints

While US business PC sales were generally strong due to the recovering economy and the reopening of offices, supply chain delays impacted shipment volumes, especially in the large enterprise market.

“The holiday season also saw weaker PC sales than in 2020 due to modest consumer demand,” Gartner said.

Excluding Japan, the Asia-Pacific market grew by 11.5 per cent year-over-year. The mobile PC market was particularly strong in the region, as many private enterprises pre-ordered extra mobile PCs in anticipation of potential market shortages.