The COVID-19 pandemic has, unsurprisingly, hit many industries incredibly hard. That includes PCs, which saw the biggest global decline in sales since 2013.
Two industry research firms, Gartner and IDC, said companies sold 51.6 million PC units or 53.2 million units respectively in the first quarter. That’s either a 12.3 percent or 9.8 percent decline in shipments year over year. The decline comes after three consecutive quarters of growth.
Further, Gartner reports that the top three PC makers, Lenovo, HP and Dell, all held their positions in terms of market share. HP saw the largest drop in global shipments at 12.1 percent. Dell, on the other hand, was the only one to report growth at 2.2 percent. Apple landed in fourth with a decline of 6.2 percent.
However, it may come as a surprise that PC sales are struggling considering the massive shift to remote work. People around the world are telecommuting if they can, students are resuming classes remotely and in general, more people are using computers than before.
According to Gartner, the COVID-19 outbreak caused significant disruptions to both the supply and demand of PCs. Lockdowns in China, for example, lowered PC production volume in February. CNBC notes that about one-third of the world’s population is estimated to be under restrictions related to the coronavirus.
Despite the need for remote work and online education, Gartner says PC manufacturers haven’t been able to meet demand.
However, it isn’t all bad news for PC manufacturers. IDC believes that while the economic impact of COVID-19 will weigh on PC makers in the short term, things will improve going forward. The impacts of COVID-19 will likely lead to companies investing more in telecommuting and other remote work infrastructure.