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Think the PC is dead? Not right now. In fact, notebook PC sales are expected to grow by a whopping 26.4 percent during the fourth quarter, according to a Tuesday report by IDC.
The spike in sales is due to the combination of two powerful trends: the traditional surge in holiday sales, as well as the increasing demand for laptops and even desktops during the pandemic. Tablets, too, are expected to grow: IDC expects 10-percent unit growth when 2020 as a whole is factored in, thanks largely to the Apple iPad.
“The momentum in the PC market has been impressive to say the least,” said Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers, in a statement. “Earlier this year it seemed like this would be a six-month bump to the industry, but as we look at the supply chain pipeline into 2021, it’s clear that the surge has more legs.”
The world migration to remote working and learning continues to drive demand. “The education backlog remains extensive,” Reith said, “and many school districts around the world are doing everything they can to secure inventory. At the same time consumers seem to be buying all ranges of notebook PCs from low-end entry level systems to high-end gaming machines.”
Reith saw the laptop demand as part of a larger trend in technology purchases. “It is important to note that all of this is happening at a time when other device categories like smartphones, PC monitors, TVs, and gaming consoles are also growing,” Reith explained. “A clear shift in consumer spend has happened.”
IDC expects that the fourth-quarter spike in sales will drop off substantially in January, as it usually does. Still, for 2021, IDC expects notebook PC units will grow by 3.2 percent. (Desktop PC sales are expected to decline by an undisclosed amount in the new year, IDC said.)
IDC is an independent subsidiary of IDG, the company that owns PCWorld.
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As PCWorld’s senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats.