Global Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Lenovo has continued to astound market watchers, dominating worldwide PC shipments on the back of a rise in demand.
The demand is fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic that has seen more schools and students embracing online learning. Also, with more companies and corporate organisations the world over still asking their employees to work remotely, the demand for personal computers (PCs) has soared in recent months.
Preliminary data by research firm Gartner reveals that worldwide PC shipments totaled 71.4 million units in Q3 2020, a 3.6% increase from the third quarter of 2019. According to Gartner, the huge leap in demand can be attributed to a rise in consumer demand for PCs due to home entertainment and distance learning needs during the coronavirus pandemic, aided by arguably the strongest growth in the US PC market in over 10 years.
China-based Lenovo continues to dominate the PC market, with its quarterly shipments rising to over 18 million units for the first time ever, according to data from Gartner. Lenovo is closely followed by HP and Dell. Also ranked among the top sellers are Apple, Acer Group, and ASUS.
Although Lenovo experienced a slight decline in desktop shipments, Gartner explains that demand for Lenovo desktops still fared better than those of HP and Dell, aided by solid growth in China. Also, research shows that HP experienced significant decline as desktop shipments declined 30% year over year, resulting in a growth of just 0.7% in the third quarter of 2020. In addition, Dell’s streak of 17 consecutive quarters of year over year growth ended in Q3 2020 with a 4.6% decline. Gartner notes that this development reflects its emphasis on business over consumer PCs.
Equally important, Lenovo witnessed a 90% year-on-year increase in Chromebooks shipment in Q3 2020. However, the firm does not include the device in its traditional PC results. However, if it includes Chromebooks in its calculations, the total worldwide PC market can be said to have grown around 9% year over year, with Chromebooks representing about 11% of the combined PC/Chromebook market.
“The quarter (Q3’20) had the strongest consumer PC demand that Gartner has seen in five years,” Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner, said. “The market is no longer being measured in the number of PCs per household; rather, the dynamics have shifted to account for one PC per person. While PC supply chain disruptions tied to the COVID-19 pandemic have been largely resolved, this quarter saw shortages of key components, such as panels, as a result of this high consumer demand.
“The business PC market had a more cautious dynamic… Businesses have continued to buy PCs for remote work, but the focus has shifted from urgent device procurement towards cost optimization. However, enterprise spending remained strong where government funding for distance learning and remote work has fueled device purchases, such as in the U.S. and Japan.”
Meanwhile, data shows that the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) PC market remained relatively flat in the third quarter of 2020, with just 0.4% year over year growth to 19.5 million units. Also, the EMEA market witnessed strong consumer demand for PC. In Africa, for instance, this manifested in aggressive sales of notebooks for children and students and high-end gaming machines to support the entertainment needs of families.
Josh Yang-Ki, a global research analyst based in South Africa, says Lenovo is doing extremely well, even with all the difficulties in meeting demand. He noted that the brand was doing well in African countries in the last five years, even as he described Lenovo as a leading source of PCs and other digital devices: ‘‘Lenovo has sustained leadership among other global brands in Africa. This can be attributed to their uncompromising stance on quality and cutting-edge technology. It may be difficult to beat Lenovo in the global PC supply chain as they are spending a lot of money to sustain the tempo. Other OEMs are trailing behind and may need to step up their strategy in attacking the marketplace.”
However, compared to other regional markets, Africa has suffered more in the supply chain disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This can be traced to the lack of foresight in envisaging the demand glut occasioned by the onset of the pandemic, with the region taken unaware and reeling from the fact that it worked with lower orders when compared to other regions, owing to lean budgets.