Thursday, January 13th 2022

Growth Streak for Traditional PCs Continues During Holiday Quarter of 2021, According to IDC

Worldwide shipments of Traditional PCs (desktops, notebooks, and workstations) reached 92.7 million units during the fourth quarter of 2021 (4Q21), marking 1.0% growth over the same quarter in 2020, according to preliminary results from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. Total PC shipments during 2021 reached 348.8 million units, up 14.8% from 2020. This represents the highest level of shipments the PC market has seen since 2012.

"2021 has truly been a return to form for the PC," said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC's Mobile and Consumer Device Trackers. "Consumer need for PCs in emerging markets and global commercial demand remained strong during the quarter with supply being a gating factor. While consumer and educational demand has tapered in some developed markets, we continue to believe the overall PC market has reset at a much higher level than before the pandemic."
"A challenging logistical environment, coupled with ongoing supply-side shortages, meant that the PC market could have been even larger than it was in 2021," according to Tom Mainelli, group vice president of IDC's Device and Consumer Research. "We closed the year with many buyers still waiting for their PC orders to ship. As we move through the first half of the year, we expect supply to remain constrained, especially with regards to the commercial segment where demand is the most robust."
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9 Comments on Growth Streak for Traditional PCs Continues During Holiday Quarter of 2021, According to IDC

#1
Chaitanya
Not surprising, given resurgence of Covid and many offices and schools going back to online mode of operation.
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#2
bug
Luckily these days it counts as a PC even if it doesn't have a GPU :D
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#3
Fatalfury
Good to see Asus having a good Growth in PC/Laptop segment. they seem to have some cool Gaming Laptops & Gaming Monitors for 2022.
if only their GPU were priced correctly and not with the "ASUS TAX". i might go with ASUS next time for the GPU.
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#4
DeathtoGnomes
where are the console owners saying the PC is dying?

laptops are PCs, just a bit more portable. I guess that falls under the traditional category.
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#5
defaultluser
DeathtoGnomeswhere are the console owners saying the PC is dying?
Well, they were not all that wrong. Prior to the Etherium Rush in 2016, the sales of Discrete GPU s had been falling precipitously for the last half decade (Thanks Intel HD Graphics, plus AMD Integrated, even gaming notebooks were not enough to slop that slide!)

PC sales will start to slip again once the pandemic fades from people's memories
(you know, when you can actually buy a new console at MSRP 15 months after it was released!) Until these supply issues get resolved, people will take the shortest path available (and for gamer that's currently buying a PC)
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#6
Vayra86
defaultluserWell, they were not all that wrong. Prior to the Etherium Rush in 2016, the sales of Discrete GPU s had been falling precipitously for the last half decade (Thanks Intel HD Graphics, plus AMD Integrated, even gaming notebooks were not enough to slop that slide!)

PC sales will start to slip again once the pandemic fades from people's memories
(you know, when you can actually buy a new console at MSRP 15 months after it was released!) Until these supply issues get resolved, people will take the shortest path available (and for gamer that's currently buying a PC)
They were definitely wrong and they still are. The numbers you use don't tell us that discrete GPUs for gaming specifically have been falling off. Its the same misconception as what you see in Steam Survey, where a massive amount of IGPs are present compared to discrete. Its a mistake to consider that the gaming market that you're looking at. A much larger part of that is the presence of casual home PCs that have ran a game or two in their lifetime. And tháts also the demographic that is keen to swap that home PC in the family living, for separate phones, tables and laptops. Its the reason the gaming notebook had no influence on those numbers either. That segment was never a gaming market, there just weren't any alternatives for the PC in reach for a long time.

Note that consoles were still readily available throughout all of this. They are of no influence in the grand scheme of gaming PCs and they likely never were. These markets are interconnected, there is a large number of gamers swapping between platforms, using both, etc etc. They're not mutually exclusive. Each platform varies in attractiveness with every console gen or PC/GPU gen. What games get ported, what first party stuff is a killer app, what terms are connected to console ecosystems, etc. And also: what is fashionable. Since the emergence of E-sports and streamers, the PC has taken off again as the leading platform, despite a growth on the console side. There's just a whole lot more people gaming, mainstream using more consoles, and more avid gamers moving to higher end PC, or both.

I think the correct take is that discrete GPUs were no longer required for an increasing part of the market around those years of decline - specifically the nongamers, enterprise, etc.

Will PC's slip again? It really depends. A lot of workers are unlikely to return to 5-day office visits every week. Stuff will be done from home. Local processing power still matters, even with the presence of cloud. The novelty of mobile devices has definitively worn out by now. Its becoming more likely all those devices will exist side by side as tablets have also entered the household even with smartphones, laptops and PCs already around. Those tablets are still not PC replacements, and neither is the mobile phone when it comes to productivity.

I think demands of consumers are really not changing a whole lot. We just like new things, but we'll eventually still go back to the most suitable tool for every task.
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#7
Totally
Funny how just a little over 2 years ago, headlines on the topic of desktop sales/adoption were all doom and gloom, sounding the death knell for the form factor.
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#8
defaultluser
Vayra86They were definitely wrong and they still are. The numbers you use don't tell us that discrete GPUs for gaming specifically have been falling off. Its the same misconception as what you see in Steam Survey, where a massive amount of IGPs are present compared to discrete. Its a mistake to consider that the gaming market that you're looking at. A much larger part of that is the presence of casual home PCs that have ran a game or two in their lifetime. And tháts also the demographic that is keen to swap that home PC in the family living, for separate phones, tables and laptops.
Annd? the fact that most people would rather own a sexy Nuc as a desktop, or 13" Ultraboooks as their Primary laptop (with no discrete graphics?) have NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH THOSE STEAM SURVEYS you claim are fixed??

Dell and HP certainly get enough volume to afford to make custom motherboards for these tiny systems, and also continue to use their own hacked ATX12v versions of the PSU pin!


www.dell.com/community/Optiplex-Desktops/Optiplex-3020-7020-9020-XE2-Dell-8pin-ATX-MB-pinout/td-p/7538164

And the Discrete GPU market has been falling before Etherium, all because the server numbers couldn't make up the Consumer quantities sold previously (you make 5x the margin on each Quadro, so you can make 5x less units!)
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#9
Vayra86
defaultluserAnnd? the fact that most people would rather own a sexy Nuc as a desktop, or 13" Ultraboooks as their Primary laptop (with no discrete graphics?) have NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH THOSE STEAM SURVEYS you claim are fixed??

Dell and HP certainly get enough volume to afford to make custom motherboards for these tiny systems, and also continue to use their own hacked ATX12v versions of the PSU pin!


www.dell.com/community/Optiplex-Desktops/Optiplex-3020-7020-9020-XE2-Dell-8pin-ATX-MB-pinout/td-p/7538164

And the Discrete GPU market has been falling before Etherium, all because the server numbers couldn't make up the Consumer quantities sold previously (you make 5x the margin on each Quadro, so you can make 5x less units!)
You responded to a post saying 'where are console owners saying PC is dying'... I dont contest more laptops got sold, or did I? I contest the idea that the PC platform was or is somehow dying altogether when it shows some time of decline. Economy goes up and down in the same way. The death of the PC somehow is a returning subject but it holds no water. There are just trends and shifts in the market. It has little to do with crypto either, thats just a factor piling on to existing trends.

And when you get more specific about the gaming market, thats a different segment. Trends that apply to all those nucs and laptops do not apply to gaming, was my earlier point. Steam survey tells us nothing about a distinction there even if it does exist. Nor does it or JPR show us how console- and PC gaming markets overlap or divide every gen/year.

Similarly, right now, we have no idea how the on-demand services replace all those discrete GPUs AND consoles. You are correct: people will take the shortest path to game. And cloud is on sale, that timing is excellent. Will it last though?
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