There are no next-generation consoles in stores and the few graphics cards that do arrive are absurdly priced, but the semiconductor crisis has not had the same effect on the PC market. Strange as it may seem, the shortage of all types of chips has not reversed the trajectory of PC sales, which during 2021 again posted excellent figures, closing another extraordinary year for the industry.
The continuation of measures such as teleworking and quarantine-related confinements served to keep PC sales on the rise, although the consulting firms do not quite agree on how much. According to Gartner, year-on-year growth was 10%, with a total of 340 million devices distributed worldwide, while IDC puts it at around 15%.
For reference, in 2020 sales were up 13 % over 2019 data, which was the highest growth in 10 years according to IDC.
Although industries such as automotive are still licking their wounds and are still far from seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, manufacturers of pre-assembled equipment such as Lenovo, HP, Dell, Asus and Apple are rubbing their hands. The Apple firm was in particular the biggest winner, with its sales up by no less than 22 % compared to 2020 data. It is followed by Dell (17 %) and Lenovo (14.1 %), according to data provided by IDC.
Interestingly, Gartner indicates that during the last quarter of the year, Chromebook sales plummeted in the United States, so not everyone came out on top in 2021. This circumstance would be explained by the closure of schools and universities, where the large Chrome OS market resides. Coupled with the country’s growing logistical problems, it is likely to result in a decline in overall sales throughout 2022.
These results serve to somewhat reverse the negative trend of the last decade, and have only been made possible by the fact that firms such as Intel, AMD and Apple are assured of manufacturing their processors; either because they own their own foundries (Intel) or book production capacity well in advance (Apple, AMD). All in all, IDC assures that if they had not experienced logistical and component availability problems, computer sales in 2021 could have been even higher than they were.