The second quarter of 2020 (2Q20) ended well for the traditional PC market, comprised of desktops, notebooks, and workstations, with global shipments growing 11.2% year over year reaching a total of 72.3 million units, according to preliminary results from IDC.
As restrictions around the world tightened in the first few weeks of the quarter, demand for notebooks continued to grow to maintain continuity of business and schooling for many communities.
Despite logistics issues early in the quarter, the cost and frequency of both air and sea freight inched closer to normal (i.e. pre-Covid levels). This, combined with PC production ramping up (and in some cases surpassing previous levels), meant that retailers and other distributors around the world had ample supply and were ready to fulfill the surge in demand.
“The strong demand driven by work-from-home as well as e-learning needs has surpassed previous expectations and has once again put the PC at the center of consumers’ tech portfolio,” said Jitesh Ubrani research manager for IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers. “What remains to be seen is if this demand and high level of usage continues during a recession and into the post-Covid world since budgets are shrinking while schools and workplaces reopen.”
“Early indicators suggest strong PC shipments for education, enterprise, and consumer, muted somewhat by frozen SMEs,” said Linn Huang, research vice president for devices and displays at IDC. “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.”
In Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan), traditional PC shipments came in above IDC’s expectations with the market registering slight growth compared with the same quarter a year ago. Following a weak first quarter of the year, which saw the industry impacted by factories closures in China and supply shortages, Q2 shipments saw a significant improvement, driven by inventory replenishment and strong sales of notebook PCs, fueled by increased demand due to work from home and e-learning.