Personal Computer Sales Spike in Q2

The Shift to Online Work and School

As the coronavirus pandemic set in across the US, work and school moved online in a matter of weeks. This meant that demand for personal computers spiked. However, most PC suppliers had trouble immediately ramping up production and distribution in March—especially with factory closures and supply chain issues resulting from the pandemic.

Recently published data from International Data Corp. shows that during the year’s second quarter, PC makers were better able to keep up with increased demand. Worldwide, PC shipments hit 72.3 million, an 11% increase over the quarter. In the US, quarterly shipment was higher than it has been in over a decade.

Companies to Watch

According to International Data Corp., HP (HPQ) was the top laptop supplier for the quarter, followed by Lenovo (LNVGY). Next was Dell (DELL), then Apple (AAPL), then Acer (2353:TT).

Sales of Chromebooks, made by Google (GOOGL) have also surged recently, mostly due to their popularity among K-12 schools. In 2018, Chromebooks accounted for about 60% of PC sales to the global K-12 market, and that number appears to be rising. Chromebook sales were up about 34% year-over-year during the second quarter.

Looking Ahead

As schools and workplaces look at plans for reopening, many are coming to the conclusion that parts of their operations will need to stay online as long as coronavirus is a threat. This could mean that demand for PCs stays strong heading into the fall.

However, schools and companies are also under enormous financial strain, which could hurt computer sales. Some analysts say that cheap but functional laptops, like Chromebooks, will continue to be a popular choice for schools and companies.

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