Surface Laptop 4 Amd 2021 Keyboard LightsSource: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

What you need to know

  • Budget PCs have seen heightened demand thanks to the pandemic.
  • That demand seems to have evaporated practically overnight.
  • According to analyst firm Mercury Research, budget notebooks saw a steep demand dropoff in the third quarter of 2021.

Just about everything that goes up has to come down at some point, especially when it comes to supply and demand economics. Such is the case with budget notebook PCs, which have seen demand reportedly plummet back to pre-pandemic levels.

The news comes from analyst firm Mercury Research (via PCWorld). Though specific figures are scarce, the broad strokes of the demand shift are that cheap laptops were riding high with 180% growth across quarters Q4 2020 to Q2 2021. Then, Q3 2021 came along and sunk the ship almost instantly, returning Chromebook and notebook PC demand to what it was before 'rona times.

Mind you, that doesn't mean notebook PCs as a whole are suffering or are in some state of peril. Strategy Analytics has good news to share about the health of the sector on the whole, though it also notes that Chromebooks in particular aren't having the outrageous successes of previous quarters. Even then, the figures on display are far from doom-and-gloom territory.

Not only are notebooks as a whole doing well, but as logic may suggest, the companies behind said hardware are also enjoying fruitful quarterly and annual results. Lenovo in particular had a strong past quarter, managing $17.9 billion in revenue, successfully trouncing any whispers that supply chain delays and shortages could derail success. With that said, the global semiconductor crisis did have an impact on Lenovo — but it was more in-line with a bump in the road than an all-out trainwreck.

Microsoft also had a successful previous quarter, though its Surface laptops took a bit of a hit due to similar supply issues.