What slowdown? PCs bolt ahead 11% in 2Q on WFH, distance learning

laptop and dog
PC makers are panting over second quarter shipments of tablets with Work From Home and distance learning on the rise. A looming recession could force the surge to heel, however. (Pisabay)

Traditional PC shipments grew 11% in the second quarter amid continuing demand for notebooks to support Work From Home (WFH) and distance learning, according to preliminary results from IDC.

Global shipments of desktops, notebooks and workstations reached 72.3 million units shipped.  In the U.S., there was also double-digit growth with volumes expected to surpass 21 million units, a record.  The U.S. has not seen such volume since 2009, IDC said, although there are worries about recession and curtailed spending on computers at many companies.  Ironically, the first quarter saw a record-breaking low in PC volume in the U.S.

HP led the field with more than 18 million PCs in the second quarter, grabbing one-fourth of the global market. Lenovo was close behind with 17.4 million and 24%. Dell had 12 million and 16% share.

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Apple had the biggest percentage increase at 36% with nearly 5.6 million units and nearly 8% of the market total. Acer was close behind with 4.8 million and 6.7% of the market.

top pc makers 2Q

Analysts had expected an increase in the second quarter, but not such a large jump. The strong demand “has surpassed previous expectations and once again put the PC at the center of the consumer tech portfolio,” said Jitesh Ubrani, a research manager at IDC. 

However, IDC is watching whether the PC demand will continue post-COVID with purchasing budgets shrinking.  The increase and back orders from the second quarter will continue into July, but the trend will sour as the globe heads into a recession, said Linn Huang, research vice president. 

Many economists believe a recession is imminent or already here, but some investors feel the U.S. economy could see a resurgence in the third quarter.  Semiconductor stocks have surged on markets in the last few months, even as energy, retail and transportation stocks have sunk on job losses and bankruptcies amid rising COVID-19 infections and deaths.

In one striking example, chipmaker Nvidia has seen its stock climb 68% in 2020.

RELATED: Nvidia’s value edges past Intel’s for first time

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