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Global Chip Shortages Slows PC Market Growth

The ongoing chip shortage has impacted the global PC shipments which slowed to 4.6% year-on-year for the second quarter of 2021 following record-setting year-on-year growth of 35.7% for the first three months of the year. The global semiconductor shortage is in part to blame for this slowdown, according to IDC and Gartner.

“The global semiconductor shortage and subsequent component supply constraints have extended lead time for some enterprise mobile PC models to as long as 120 days,” said Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner.

IDC says more than 83 million PCs were shipped in the second quarter of 2021, while Gartner’s own figure is more than 71 million. Gartner does not include Chromebook shipments in its results, but the research firm says “Chromebook shipments were once again strong in the second quarter of 2021.” Either way, both firms agree that year-over-year growth in this latest quarter wasn’t as strong as 2020’s sudden growth.

That doesn’t mean PC sales are about to suddenly plummet, but the first big growth we saw in a decade could be starting to wane. Lenovo is still the top PC manufacturer worldwide, and Gartner says Apple, Acer, and Asus all grew faster than the overall market thanks to better availability of consumer PCs. “The consumer PC market was less impacted by shortages than the enterprise market, as vendors can be more flexible in the system design of consumer models, enabling workarounds for certain supply constraints,” says Gartner.

“With businesses opening back up, demand potential in the commercial segment appears promising. However, there are also early indicators of consumer demand slowing down as people shift spending priorities after nearly a year of aggressive PC buying,” IDC’s Neha Mahajan states.

The computer chips in the highest demand are not particularly sophisticated or expensive. But they’re indispensable components used in everything from kitchen appliances to washing machines and electronic gadgets.

The shortage is going from bad to worse, spreading from cars to consumer electronics. With the bulk of chip production concentrated in a handful of suppliers, analysts warn that the crunch is likely to last through 2021.

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