Global chip shortage leads to dip in PC market growth in Q3 2021

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What you need to know

  • Global PC market growth fell to 5% in Q3 2021.
  • The previous five quarters saw double-digit growth for the PC market.
  • The ongoing global ship shortage affected the ability of PC manufacturers to meet demand.

The ongoing global chip shortage is "the key inhibitor of higher growth in the PC market," according to Canalys. During Q3 2021, the annual growth of PC shipments fell to 5%. The previous five quarters saw double-digit growth in the same area. While growth fell to 5%, total shipments of desktops and notebooks reached 84.1 million units. Note that a dip in PC growth still indicates an increase in shipments, albeit a smaller increase than seen in previous quarters.

Due in large part to millions of people having to work and study from home, 2020 was a strong year for PC growth. Even with the dip in PC growth in Q3 2021, the PC market has seen a two-year Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 9% since Q3 2019. Year-on-year, notebook and mobile workstation shipments grew 3% to 67.4 million units. Desktop and desktop workstation units rose 12% to 16.6 million units.

Demand for PCs remains high, but the ongoing global chip shortage prevents PC manufacturers from meeting demand. This is still an issue, as evidenced by the fact that Microsoft is shipping its Surface Laptop Studio to a limited set of markets.

"Disruption to the global supply chain and logistics network remains the key inhibitor of higher growth in the PC market," said Ishan Dutt, senior analyst at Canalys. "More than a year on from the onset of the pandemic, manufacturing continues to be hindered by lockdowns and other COVID-19 related restrictions, particularly in Asia."

Source: Canals (Image credit: Source: Canals)

Slowdowns of global transportation and rising freight prices have also affected the PC industry, according to Canalys.

It may be difficult to purchase PCs this holiday season, according to the report. "The shortfall in supply of PCs is expected to last well into 2022, with the holiday season of this year set to see a significant portion of orders not met," said Dutt. "Vendors able to manage this period of operational upheaval by diversifying production and distribution and having better visibility of orders to prioritize device allocation will be equipped to ride out the storm."

In Q3 2021, four of the top five PC vendors saw shipment volume growth. Lenovo led the group with 19.8 million units shipped, which was an increase of 2.5% year-on-year. HP was the only top-five PC vendor to see a decline in the quarter (down 5.7%). Dell saw a shipment volume growth of 26.7% due to shipping 15 million units.

Sean Endicott
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at