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HP Just Ahead Of Dell In U.S. PC Market As Q1 Shipments Surge

PC shipments jumped 24 percent in the U.S. and 32 percent globally during the first quarter of the year, Gartner reported.

HP Inc. won a slim lead over Dell in U.S. PC shipments during the first quarter of the year as the global PC market enjoyed unprecedented growth, according to research firm Gartner.

On a worldwide basis, PC shipments grew 32 percent during Q1 from the same period a year earlier--the largest year-over-year growth that Gartner recorded since the firm’s tracking of the market began two decades ago. The growth comes as PC demand continues to be strong for widespread remote working and learning amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

[Related: Apple Delays MacBooks, iPads Amid Component Shortages: Report]

Gartner does not include Chromebooks in its usual PC shipment tallies--but given the massive demand for the student-friendly laptops recently, the research firm noted that global PC shipments in Q1 jumped 47 percent year-over-year when Chromebooks are included.

In the U.S. PC market, HP Inc. saw the strongest growth in the quarter among the three leading Windows device makers, with 33.4 percent growth in shipments from the same period of 2020. HP led with a 27-percent share of the U.S. PC market during the quarter, while Dell grabbed 26.6 percent of the market, according to Gartner. Dell’s shipments grew just 4.4 percent, year-over-year, the firm reported.

At No. 3 in the U.S., Lenovo generated PC shipments growth of 18.7 percent during the first quarter, for market share of 15.7 percent. Apple’s shipments spiked 54.2 percent, giving the Mac maker a 15.1-percent share of the market in the U.S.

In the U.S. PC market overall, shipments climbed 24.1 percent during Q1 from the year before, Gartner reported. The growth was driven by demand for mobile PCs such as notebooks, while desktop PC sales declined, according to the firm.

“The positive results in the U.S. reflect a more optimistic economic environment in 2021 compared to 2020 when the market experienced multiple uncertainties due to the pandemic, as well as political and social unrest,” said Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner, in a news release.

Gartner noted that the shipments growth reflects several abnormal conditions in the market—including “shipment chaos” during the comparable quarter, Q1 of 2020, amid disruption from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. That led to “weak” PC shipments during that quarter, the research firm said.

At the same time, the surging growth in the PC market during the first quarter may have still been constrained due to ongoing shortages of components such as processors.

“Semiconductor shortages are now adversely affecting the supply chain once again, with shipment lead times for some PCs extending to as long as four months,” Kitagawa said.

This “may lead to lower shipment numbers,” she said, but it’s “still reasonable to conclude that PC demand could remain strong even after stay-home restrictions ease.”

In the future, “vendors and suppliers will be closely balancing the need to meet underlying demand without creating excess inventory,” Kitagawa said.

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