Global PC shipments start to normalize as component shortages ease

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,318   +162
Staff member
In a nutshell: The last few years have been an anomaly for the PC industry. The pandemic forced millions of people to work from home, with many having to upgrade their computers or buy new machines to get the job done. The boom, along with ongoing Covid restrictions, led to supply chain issues and component shortages that have made it hard for people to buy certain electronic goods. Slowly but surely, things are starting to get back to normal.

Easing logistics issues and component shortages have helped manufacturers address backlogged orders, and many workers have since returned to the office.

As a result, things are moving more smoothly. According to Counterpoint's latest report, PC shipments dipped 4.3 percent year over year in Q2 2021 to reach 78.7 million units.

Lenovo retained its position as the top global vendor based on shipments with 18.2 million units shipped. That's down nearly 9.5 percent compared to the same period last year. HP captured the second spot with 15.9 million PCs shipped, a 15.4 percent year-over-year dip. Dell and Apple, which finished third and fourth, saw shipments increase by 1.5 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively.

You've probably noticed this normalization in other areas, too. Microsoft's Xbox Series is more accessible now than ever, and the system brought in more money than every other console last quarter. GPUs are also more available than they have been in recent memory, and are coming closer to MSRP, too.

Image credit Pixabay

Permalink to story.

 

psycros

Posts: 4,328   +6,312
The idea that working from home is what fueled the chip crisis doesn't make sense. Ten-year-old PCs were more than capable of doing anything the office would require, even on 4gb of RAM. The bulk of PC upgrades are from large-volume corporate sales or leases. In the home market its at least 85% gamers who drive the upgrade cycle, and most of them don't upgrade anything but GPU more often than every three years. One could certainly attribute a small amount of supply crunch to those gamers who also use their rigs for remote work, but it wouldn't be more than a tiny bump on the industry's graphs. The chip crisis is due almost entirely to COVID keeping workers out of factories in China, Taiwan and - to a much smaller extent - the US. This is common knowledge throughout the industry.
 

Aranarth

Posts: 125   +123
The idea that working from home is what fueled the chip crisis doesn't make sense. Ten-year-old PCs were more than capable of doing anything the office would require, even on 4gb of RAM. The bulk of PC upgrades are from large-volume corporate sales or leases. In the home market its at least 85% gamers who drive the upgrade cycle, and most of them don't upgrade anything but GPU more often than every three years. One could certainly attribute a small amount of supply crunch to those gamers who also use their rigs for remote work, but it wouldn't be more than a tiny bump on the industry's graphs. The chip crisis is due almost entirely to COVID keeping workers out of factories in China, Taiwan and - to a much smaller extent - the US. This is common knowledge throughout the industry.

The thing is I spent 2019-2021 upgrading lots of corporate employees who an old laptop to a new one that had an hd/ssd and 4/8gb ram to a new laptop that had nvme drives and 16gb ram. Or I was setting up a new laptop for people who primarily had a desktop so they could work for home. I can TOTALLY see covid and WFH as major impact on PC availablity especially for laptops.

I'm not saying this is the ONLY factor I am saying it definitely was one of the top 10.

We also had a major push to get eveyone off of win7 and moved to win10.
 

Nobina

Posts: 3,874   +4,365
Guys, can you ease up on buying those GPUs so that I can snag one for a decent price? Thanks!
 

Achaios

Posts: 389   +1,079
QUOTE
The idea that working from home is what fueled the chip crisis doesn't make sense. Ten-year-old PCs were more than capable of doing anything the office would require, even on 4gb of RAM
UNQUOTE

I agree with Psycros.

Case in point, Working from home requires:

- A PC capable of running MS Office 2003.
- A PC capable of running Windows 7.
- A PC that has a basic GPU or integrated graphics that can run a USB 2.0 camera.
- A PC capable of running Adobe PDF reader and Adobe PDF reader pro.
- A PC capable of connecting itself to the internet.
- A PC capable of running Firefox latest version for windows 7.

We are talking about basic office work.

Psycros said you can do that with a 10 year old laptop. I see it and I raise you even further, you can do all that with my old 2002 laptop that still works. Pentium 4 Northwood 130nm @3.06 GHz 1 Core with HT, 2 Threads, Nvidia GeForce4 460 Go 32 MB 150nm GPU AGP, IDE WD Scorpio HDD, Intel 845P Chipset, 2GB of DDR1 RAM.

When the only things that's on the HDD are browser, MS Office and Windows the drive is lightning fast.

So, if you are computer savvy, you can do the job easily with even a 21 year old laptop, so definitely as Psycros said

QUOTE
The idea that working from home is what fueled the chip crisis doesn't make sense
UNQUOTE

is correct.
 

BadThad

Posts: 1,138   +1,336
Could be short-lived now that the communists in China are locking down cities due to the China Virus. Communism is the scourge of the world and, quite oddly, America has people clamoring for it here. DISGUSTING!
 

Aceseven

Posts: 315   +399
The idea that working from home is what fueled the chip crisis doesn't make sense. Ten-year-old PCs were more than capable of doing anything the office would require, even on 4gb of RAM. The bulk of PC upgrades are from large-volume corporate sales or leases. In the home market its at least 85% gamers who drive the upgrade cycle, and most of them don't upgrade anything but GPU more often than every three years. One could certainly attribute a small amount of supply crunch to those gamers who also use their rigs for remote work, but it wouldn't be more than a tiny bump on the industry's graphs. The chip crisis is due almost entirely to COVID keeping workers out of factories in China, Taiwan and - to a much smaller extent - the US. This is common knowledge throughout the industry.
same thought, my mom was using an 11yr old hp pavillion for work, I installed an ssd in it and fresh windows, she actually preferred it to the work one which had a tiny screen and was pretty barebones,

these companies strike deals though so they get perfectly fine computers swapped out constantly making people think old systems are no longer relevant...it doesnt take cutting edge tech to type and keep open a dozen web pages.
 

BadThad

Posts: 1,138   +1,336
The idea that working from home is what fueled the chip crisis doesn't make sense. Ten-year-old PCs were more than capable of doing anything the office would require, even on 4gb of RAM
UNQUOTE

I agree with Psycros.

Me too! I still have a few customers running old P4 Northwood systems I upgraded to Win10, added RAM and converted from HDD to SSD. They are perfectly happy!
 

zulu53

Posts: 143   +51
QUOTE
The idea that working from home is what fueled the chip crisis doesn't make sense. Ten-year-old PCs were more than capable of doing anything the office would require, even on 4gb of RAM
UNQUOTE

I agree with Psycros.

Case in point, Working from home requires:

- A PC capable of running MS Office 2003.
- A PC capable of running Windows 7.
- A PC that has a basic GPU or integrated graphics that can run a USB 2.0 camera.
- A PC capable of running Adobe PDF reader and Adobe PDF reader pro.
- A PC capable of connecting itself to the internet.
- A PC capable of running Firefox latest version for windows 7.

We are talking about basic office work.

Psycros said you can do that with a 10 year old laptop. I see it and I raise you even further, you can do all that with my old 2002 laptop that still works. Pentium 4 Northwood 130nm @3.06 GHz 1 Core with HT, 2 Threads, Nvidia GeForce4 460 Go 32 MB 150nm GPU AGP, IDE WD Scorpio HDD, Intel 845P Chipset, 2GB of DDR1 RAM.

When the only things that's on the HDD are browser, MS Office and Windows the drive is lightning fast.

So, if you are computer savvy, you can do the job easily with even a 21 year old laptop, so definitely as Psycros said

QUOTE
The idea that working from home is what fueled the chip crisis doesn't make sense
UNQUOTE

is correct.
But the uptick in sales was driven by business's trying to maintain worker productivity with better equipment: since most of their workers are not as tech savvy as you.
 

zulu53

Posts: 143   +51
The idea that working from home is what fueled the chip crisis doesn't make sense. Ten-year-old PCs were more than capable of doing anything the office would require, even on 4gb of RAM. The bulk of PC upgrades are from large-volume corporate sales or leases. In the home market its at least 85% gamers who drive the upgrade cycle, and most of them don't upgrade anything but GPU more often than every three years. One could certainly attribute a small amount of supply crunch to those gamers who also use their rigs for remote work, but it wouldn't be more than a tiny bump on the industry's graphs. The chip crisis is due almost entirely to COVID keeping workers out of factories in China, Taiwan and - to a much smaller extent - the US. This is common knowledge throughout the industry.
Does (you said doesn't) make sense you mean? For the reason you stated - corporate sales are what drove it and corporate don't have enough tech savvy users to use old hardware SECURELY.

I do agree that the increased sales had less effect of an effect on the chip shortage than the loss of factory productivity caused the Government mandated "stay at home" or "work from home" measures: called collectively the "stop work" measures. But that is because "increased sales" or increased demand were caused by the same "stop work" actions in the Western World. Now if the article had only included actual production data from the factories that supply chip components and chips themselves then we could see the actual impact influence. Being in the factory (and its supply chain) business I would guesstimate that productivity impact on production was about 70% - 80% and the productivity impact leading to increased demand about 20%-30%. Asian Governments actions created most of this shortage - less production where Western Governments actions less - higher demand. Capital intensive manufacturing (as chips are) is always more sensitive on the supply side.
 
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zulu53

Posts: 143   +51
Don't hold your breath, on "shortages" disappearing any time soon. There are many other industries suffering chip shortages for micro computers so the demand is unlikely to moderate that much. The less productivity measures mandated by the Asian and Western Governments virtually shutdown in-progress new factory construction for the last 2 years, so supply is already 2 years behind on demand from where is was planned in 2019. New factories (or mines for the components) take about 1-2 years to fund and 3 years to build - so lets have this conversation in 2026 or so?
 

zulu53

Posts: 143   +51
GPU pricing has much more to do with the demand side than the supply side and therefore not part of a "chip shortage" discussion. Chip shortage has very little impact on anything about a GPU price except its MRSP (selling price being about 90% of MRSP). Since the current problem is with the selling price being so much MORE than the MRSP; instead of the less that is should be - the chip shortage is irrelevant.
 

Watzupken

Posts: 671   +544
The idea that working from home is what fueled the chip crisis doesn't make sense. Ten-year-old PCs were more than capable of doing anything the office would require, even on 4gb of RAM. The bulk of PC upgrades are from large-volume corporate sales or leases. In the home market its at least 85% gamers who drive the upgrade cycle, and most of them don't upgrade anything but GPU more often than every three years. One could certainly attribute a small amount of supply crunch to those gamers who also use their rigs for remote work, but it wouldn't be more than a tiny bump on the industry's graphs. The chip crisis is due almost entirely to COVID keeping workers out of factories in China, Taiwan and - to a much smaller extent - the US. This is common knowledge throughout the industry.
It may not make sense to you, but you can see and observe it with your own eyes and ears. When everyone is working and studying from home, there is no doubt that people may need more monitors or electronic devices. Imagine each household just needs to buy 1 extra monitor, and/or, computer, and that demand will spike since this is a global thing. Under normal circumstances, you won’t see such demand, and so such exceptions will not be captured under their sales projection.
 

Watzupken

Posts: 671   +544
Don't hold your breath, on "shortages" disappearing any time soon. There are many other industries suffering chip shortages for micro computers so the demand is unlikely to moderate that much. The less productivity measures mandated by the Asian and Western Governments virtually shutdown in-progress new factory construction for the last 2 years, so supply is already 2 years behind on demand from where is was planned in 2019. New factories (or mines for the components) take about 1-2 years to fund and 3 years to build - so lets have this conversation in 2026 or so?

“Shortage” of parts is still a problem. But with demand weakening, it may be hard for the companies to justify increasing prices. Over the past couple of years, the high prices are due to “shortages”and also a surge in demand. At this point in time, most households would have gotten the electronic devices they need for work/ study from home. Companies would have stockpiled these devices in case they cannot get it last minute. So I feel the red hot demand cannot continue.