US PC shipments jump by 17% buoyed by commercial and educational demand

Notebooks turned in the best performance during the second quarter of 2021, while desktops saw a healthy rebound, says Canalys.

Windows computer

Image: Sompetch Khanakornpratip/Shutterstock

The U.S. personal computer market showed strong growth last quarter as the economy continued its recovery and demand surged from the commercial and educational sectors. In a report published on Wednesday, research firm Canalys pegged second-quarter PC shipments in the U.S. at 36.8 million, a rise of 17% from the same quarter in 2020.

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Looking at the entire market including desktops, notebooks, Chromebooks and tablets, Canalys pointed to notebooks as the best performers for the quarter with an increase in shipments of 27%. Desktops, which often are hit by declining demand, staged a vigorous comeback with a bounce of 23%.

On the downside, tablet shipments fell by 1%. The tablet market mushroomed last year as people forced to quarantine at home searched for devices for entertainment and communication. Since then, the need for tablets has decreased in comparison to traditional PCs, according to Canalys.

For the quarter, iPads saw healthy demand as Apple adroitly kept up with component shortages. But other tablet vendors, such as Amazon and Samsung, also gained ground.

PC makers can thank educational and commercial organizations for much of the shipment growth. Schools in the U.S. have been transitioning to a replacement market for PCs, with a need for machines for in-person education as well as blended learning and online courses. The resurgence of COVID-19 via the delta variant has convinced many companies to continue a hybrid work environment, increasing the need among people working at home and in the office.

Among the major players, HP topped the market last quarter with a 21.9% share and 8 million PCs shipped. In second place, Apple saw its slice of the market dip by almost 3% due to lower iPad demand but still managed to ship 7.6 million devices overall. Dell snagged a 15.6% market share on shipments of 5.7 million, followed by Lenovo with 4.5 million shipments and Samsung with 3 million.

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Image: Canalys

The future for the PC industry also looks bright, according to Canalys.

"It is clear now that pandemic-related use cases will extend well into the future," Canalys research analyst Brian Lynch said in a press release. "This points toward a significant refresh opportunity in the future – fantastic news for PC vendors and their channel and ecosystem partners. The commercial and education segments have exploded, triggering tremendous refresh potential. The US economy has bounced back well from its pandemic woes and small businesses are recovering, which will lead to a wave of purchasing from the segment."

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