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PC shipments rise as COVID-19 has people working, studying from home

Lenovo and HP shipped the most PCs during the second quarter of 2020, Gartner and IDC say.

Stay at home orders have "once again put the PC at the center of consumers' tech portfolio," says IDC.
Josh Goldman/CNET
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Worldwide PC shipments are up again following supply chain disruptions caused by the spread of the coronavirus across the globe. PC shipments reached 64.8 million units in the second quarter of 2020, according to analysis by Garter published Thursday. Sellers were able to restock their PC supplies, while demand for laptops also grew during the quarter as more people worked or studied from home due to COVID-19.

"The PC supply chain was severely disrupted in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic," said Mikako Kitagawa, Gartner research director. "However, this uptick in mobile PC demand will not continue beyond 2020, as shipments were mainly boosted by short-term business needs due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic."

Read more: The best laptops of 2020

Lenovo and HP shipped the most PCs, according to Gartner, at over 16 million each. Dell followed with 10 million, and Apple, Acer and Asus trailed at about 4 million each. Chromebooks and iPads weren't included in the data.

International Data Corporation (IDC) also released data Thursday afternoon. Its numbers were a little different, showing a total shipment volume of 72 million PCs during the quarter. IDC also found HP to be tops in shipments, at 18 million, followed by Lenovo with 17 million and Dell with 12 million. IDC said Apple shipped 5 million PCs and Acer shipped more than 4 million.

IDC also attributed the growth in shipments to the pandemic.

"The strong demand driven by work-from-home as well as e-learning needs has surpassed previous expectations and has once again put the PC at the center of consumers' tech portfolio," said Jitesh Ubrani, IDC Mobile Device Trackers research manager. "What remains to be seen is if this demand and high level of usage continues during a recession and into the post-COVID world since budgets are shrinking while schools and workplaces reopen."