Worldwide PC shipments totaled 88,4-million units in the fourth quarter of 2021, a 5% decrease from the fourth quarter of 2020, according to preliminary results by Gartner.

This is the first year-over-year decline following six consecutive quarters of growth. For the year, PC shipments reached 339,8-million units in 2021, a 9,9% increase from 2020.

“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,” says Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner. “This likely signifies the end of the massive and unexpected growth in PC demand triggered by the pandemic.

“However, 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 two to three years.”

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

Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 4Q21 (Thousands of Units)

Company 4Q21 Shipments 4Q21 Market Share (%) 4Q20 Shipments 4Q20 Market Share (%) 4Q21-4Q20 Growth (%)
Lenovo 21,701 24.6 24,623 26.5 -11.9
HP Inc. 18,645 21.1 19,455 20.9 -4.2
Dell 17,196 19.5 15,944 17.1 7.9
Apple 6,846 7.7 6,447 6.9 6.2
Acer Group 6,189 7.0 6,798 7.3 -9.0
ASUS 6,102 6.9 5,359 5.8 13.9
Others 11,714 13.3 14,450 15.5 -18.9
Total 88,392 100.0 93,076 100.0 -5.0

Notes: Data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs, ultramobile premiums (such as Microsoft Surface) and Chromebooks, but not iPads. All data is estimated based on a preliminary study. Final estimates will be subject to change. The statistics are based on shipments selling into channels. Numbers may not add up to totals shown due to rounding.
Source: Gartner (January 2022)

Lenovo’s worldwide PC shipments fell nearly 12% quartering the fourth quarter of 2021, the first period of year-over-year decline for the company since the first quarter of 2020. This decline was due to the slowed US market, weak Chromebook demand and supply chain issues, which impeded Lenovo’s ability to supply PCs to enterprise customers.

These factors also contributed to HP’s 4% year-over-year decline; however, HP’s decline was tempered by robust growth in the Asia Pacific market.

Dell gained market share this period after notching a fifth consecutive quarter of growth. Shipment volume exceeded 17-million units for the first time in the company’s history, led by strong performance in Latin America, EMEA and Asia Pacific.

The EMEA PC market grew 7,4% year-over-year, reaching 26-million units, the highest volume in five years. This growth was led by business PC demand associated with increasing economic and social recovery, as many businesses, schools and universities began to return to in-person operations.

Annual overview: pandemic drove PC market revival

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 339,8-million units in 2021, a 9,9% increase from 2020.

Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2021 (Thousands of Units)

Company 2021 Shipments 2021 Market Share (%) 2020 Shipments 2020 Market Share (%) 2021-2020 Growth (%)
Lenovo 84,017 24.7 76,113 24.6 10.4
HP Inc. 74,180 21.8 68,181 22.1 8.8
Dell 59,681 17.6 50,736 16.4 17.6
Apple 25,983 7.6 22,008 7.1 18.1
Acer Group 24,335 7.2 22,460 7.3 8.3
ASUS 21,656 6.4 17,849 5.8 21.3
Others 49,917 14.7 51,731 16.7 -3.5
Total 339,769 100.0 309,079 100.0 9.9

Notes: Data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs, ultramobile premiums (such as Microsoft Surface) and Chromebooks, but not iPads. All data is estimated based on a preliminary study. Final estimates will be subject to change. The statistics are based on shipments selling into channels. Numbers may not add up to totals shown due to rounding.
Source: Gartner (January 2022)

After a long period of decline and occasional modest growth, the pandemic revived the PC industry, as evidenced by 2021’s continued strong growth. Gartner expects PC demand to slow for at least the next two years, but annual shipment volumes are not expected to decline to pre-pandemic levels in that period.

“The pandemic significantly changed business and consumer PC user behavior, as people had to adopt to new ways of working and living,” says Kitagawa. “Post-pandemic, some of the newly established ways of using PCs will remain regular practice, such as remote or hybrid workstyles, taking online courses and communicating with friends and family online.”