There has been unprecedented stocking up of laptop and desktop computers globally in 2020 because of the pandemic and related work from home and stay at home regulations ay a level that was not witnessed since the iPhone was launched in 2007.
And according to hardware industry executives and analysts, it will still take months for manufacturers to fulfil the outstanding orders for laptop and desktop computers.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the computer market has been upended by remote learning and working trends which has hit sale of smartphones while boosting demand and sale for the bigger devices which have, in the last decade, become like afterthoughts for consumers of smartphones.
“The whole supply chain has been strained like never before,” said Gregg Prendergast, Pan-America president at hardware maker Acer.
In 2008, the annual shipments of PCs, which includes both laptops and desktops, globally was at about 300 million and has been going down in recent years to about 250 million a year.
And few had expected resurgence in the industry.
Some analysts however expect that by the end of the current year, the shipments of PCs will be close to the 300 million mark which would be about a 15 per cent growth since last year. There is even faster growth in shipment of tablets.
According to research company Canalys, the number of installed PCs and tablets will reach 1.77 billion by the end of 2021, compared to about 1.64 billion in 2019. The pandemic and the study from home format has led households to move from one OC for the family to one for every student or video games or work from hone worker.
A number of measures such as adding suppliers, speeding up shipping and teasing better models launching next year were done by manufacturers to meet the sudden spurt in demand.
But those measures have not been enough.
The cost to fly laptops directly to its education customers is being absorbed by Acer, Prendergast said, as the company ditched boats and trains to cut down a time period of about month from the entire shipping process. However some customers are being forced to wait as long as four months to get shipments because of the company’s assembly lines falling behind the demand,
Analysts said that even with many factories long past virus shutdowns, components including screens and processors are hard to get and the sale forecasts of PCs for 2021 would have been higher but for the supply chain issues.
Any device that has a keyboard would be enough provided that the shipments arrived in a week, a customer had reportedly told a vendor in April, recalled Ishan Dutt, a Canalys analyst. Such urgency and need has since subsided but there are customers who want to upgrade and that is maintaining pressure on the PC industry, Dutt said.
Ryan Reith, vice president at analyst firm IDC, this crunch in the PC market is likely to continue till 2022 because of additional government stimulus money for schools and businesses in a number of countries.
(Adapted from NDTV.com)