PC shipments increased by 55% in Q1, despite chip shortages

Joe White

Posts: 69   +0
The big picture: The global chip shortage is reported to be getting worse, with forecasts of the supply chain not able to fully recover until 2022 or even 2023. However, PC shipments for the first quarter of the year at least, were far from hindered. Nearly 84 million machines were shipped, resulting in a 55% year-over-year increase compared to Q1 2020 and a slim 8% decrease when compared to Q4 2020 (a typically strong quarter).

PC shipments in Q1 2021 didn’t seem to suffer as expected. Almost 84 million PCs were shipped in the first quarter, marking an impressive 55% increase year-over-year.

Apple’s growth was most impressive, standing at over 100% year over year, and all of the top 5 PC suppliers shipped more machines than in the year prior, according to data from IDC.

“Unfulfilled demand from the past year has carried forward into the first quarter and additional demand brought on by the pandemic has also continued to drive volume,” said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC's Mobile Device Trackers.

IDC adds that all three segments – business, education, and consumer – are continuing to see impressive and unexpected demand in the wake of the looming chip shortage.

In terms of these figures, it’s likely that the bigger buying power of companies like Apple, Acer, and Lenovo has allowed them to continue purchasing dwindling chips from the shrinking supply. It’s possible that the big five PC manufacturers have eaten into the sales of smaller companies, who’ve struggled to get hold of enough chips to meet demand.

However, for some Apple’s products, shortages within the supply chain may finally be catching up with them.

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duckofdeath

Posts: 448   +586
I've been saying for a long time that the mining stories are fake news spam. The pictures are real, obviously, but it's not the reason there's a shortage.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,145   +2,173
I've been saying for a long time that the mining stories are fake news spam. The pictures are real, obviously, but it's not the reason there's a shortage.

Ditto: We keep seeing the news of shortages and also all these record growth and I have to point out "Remember when we caught RAM chip makers price fixing? Yeah about that" except with all other kinds of chips this time around.
 

McMurdeR

Posts: 347   +345
I've been saying for a long time that the mining stories are fake news spam. The pictures are real, obviously, but it's not the reason there's a shortage.

It's clear that it's just one of a number of factors driving demand.

I still believe most digital currencies are resource wasting pyramid schemes and I also think coin miners are absolute parasites on the gaming community! Sue me.
 

Bulllee

Posts: 228   +155
Can't see a light at the end of the tunnel for those of who wish to build our own PC for a fair price.
 

Watzupken

Posts: 340   +320
Ditto: We keep seeing the news of shortages and also all these record growth and I have to point out "Remember when we caught RAM chip makers price fixing? Yeah about that" except with all other kinds of chips this time around.
In my opinion, it is possible to see PC growth even though there is an acute chip shortage. Most OEMs/ manufacturers will stockpile parts/ components in case of supply disruptions. So while they may not be getting enough supply upstream, they will just deplete their own inventory. I recall an article that I read recently that mentioned that Lenovo's inventory is at a critically low level, which is almost a year after the pandemic lockdowns happened. Which means they may have a buffer of a year or more.
 

jpuroila

Posts: 390   +235
In my opinion, it is possible to see PC growth even though there is an acute chip shortage. Most OEMs/ manufacturers will stockpile parts/ components in case of supply disruptions. So while they may not be getting enough supply upstream, they will just deplete their own inventory. I recall an article that I read recently that mentioned that Lenovo's inventory is at a critically low level, which is almost a year after the pandemic lockdowns happened. Which means they may have a buffer of a year or more.
I think the explanation is simpler than that. Bigger customers get higher priority, so when there is a shortage, the majority of shipments will go to OEMs, then to smaller system integrators, and the DIY market gets the scraps. So companies like Lenovo don't feel shortages nearly as acutely as you might think if you were just monitoring the stock levels for individual parts on sites like Amazon and Newegg. Certainly no-one pays to keep any but most critical components(if those) around for a year or more... even if maybe they should.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,145   +2,173
In my opinion, it is possible to see PC growth even though there is an acute chip shortage. Most OEMs/ manufacturers will stockpile parts/ components in case of supply disruptions. So while they may not be getting enough supply upstream, they will just deplete their own inventory. I recall an article that I read recently that mentioned that Lenovo's inventory is at a critically low level, which is almost a year after the pandemic lockdowns happened. Which means they may have a buffer of a year or more.

Actually this is not at all incompatible with price fixing and might even be a feature of it: as you said integrators and large customers probably have sufficient stock to just constrain their purchases during the higher price periods and increasing their overall prices as an average of normal and inflated prices, still being mostly positive margins for them while at the same time making sure their products are instantly more attractive than regular buyers without the benefit of a large inventory buffer.

So in essence, while it might be ultimately not desirable that their margins are permanently cut by the prices never really returning to normal and accelerating beyond normal inflation rates, this positioning you mention means they still come ahead regardless, in an era were system integrators and big builders had lost almost all ground to just people making custom desktops (As in pertains to consumer market for desktops, not enterprise of course) now they might be able to sell systems at a greater rate even if their margins are permanently cut short.
 
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Bobbydpue

Posts: 226   +147
I've been saying for a long time that the mining stories are fake news spam. The pictures are real, obviously, but it's not the reason there's a shortage.
Mining is one of the reasons there's a shortage. There's higher demand coming from miners, people working from home, gamers with more time on their hands, businesses that need to support people working from home, and, I'm sure, a bunch of other places that have been affected by Covid. Mining isn't the one problem, but it's also not helping.
 

duckofdeath

Posts: 448   +586
Mining is one of the reasons there's a shortage. There's higher demand coming from miners, people working from home, gamers with more time on their hands, businesses that need to support people working from home, and, I'm sure, a bunch of other places that have been affected by Covid. Mining isn't the one problem, but it's also not helping.
The shortage is that they only want to sell them with full systems. It's easy to get one at msrp if you agree to buy the whole setup. Hence, it's a scam.