Many believed that smartphones would kill off the PC, and for more than a decade, this appeared to be true, with PC sales peaking at 300 million units in 2008 and slowly drifting down since, hitting a low of around 250 million in 2019.
The coronavirus pandemic changed all of that, and now industry analysts predict sales will be up 15% YoY, hitting around 300 million devices.
A number of factors are pushing the growth, reports Reuters, from 1 PC households needing to expand to a PC for each student and worker, to governments funding remote teaching laptop purchases.
The result has been a massive shortage of components, even as factories shrug of coronavirus-related closures.
“The whole supply chain has been strained like never before,” said Gregg Prendergast, Pan-America president at hardware maker Acer Inc.
Analysts expect 2021 to see even greater pressure, as companies and home user start upgrading their old devices to take advantage of more modern features such as improved webcams, better speakers and 5G integration.
Sam Burd, president at PC maker Dell Technologies Inc, this month said the industry “renaissance” would soon bring devices with artificial intelligence software to simplify tasks like logging on and switching off cameras.
The push is expected to increase the installed base of PCs and tablets to 1.77 billion in 2021, up from 1.64 billion in 2019, according to research company Canalys. It appears the rumours of the death of the PC has been greatly exaggerated.