Traditional PC Market Delivers Another Quarter of Double-Digit Growth in Q3 2020, According to IDC

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.– As the global pandemic rages on and many countries around the world enter the second wave of COVID-19 infections, continuity of business and online schooling remain at the forefront of every economy. This led to double-digit growth in the traditional PC market, comprised of desktops, notebooks, and workstations, as global shipments grew 14.6% year over year to 81.3 million units in the third quarter of 2020 (3Q20), according to preliminary results from the International Data Corporation (IDCWorldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker.

“Consumer demand and institutional demand approached record levels in some cases,” said Jitesh Ubrani research manager for IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers. “Gaming, Chromebooks, and in some cases cellular-enabled notebooks were all bright spots during the quarter. Had the market not been hampered by component shortages, notebook shipments would have soared even higher during the third quarter as market appetite was yet unsatiated.”

Unfortunately, shortages of multiple components, such as processors, panels, and other subcomponents, led to missed opportunity for many vendors. “The PC industry rode into the third quarter with a sizeable backlog of unfulfilled orders,” said Linn Huang, research vice president, Devices and Displays at IDC. “And it appears the quarter will end under the same auspices. Given that the shortages have been due more to a shortfall of business planning than a technical glitch, we do not anticipate a sudden surge in capacity. Consequently, this backlog will likely carry into 2021.”

Regional Highlights

Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) (APeJ): The Traditional PC market posted a single digit increase in the region with results coming in above IDC’s forecast. Shipments were driven by inventory replenishments and strong demand for notebooks as end users across the region continued to purchase devices for work from home, online learning, and entertainment purposes.

Canada: The Traditional PC market remained extremely active, posting the 17th consecutive quarter of gains. This is the second quarter where COVID-19-related restrictions were in effect, continuing to boost demand from Canadian households and from organizations looking to ensure business continuity through stay-at-home situations. The need for computing devices in Canada should remain high throughout the winter but spending might be impacted by the macro-economic situation, increasing pressure on average selling prices for the foreseeable future.

Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA): Traditional PC shipments achieved high single-digit growth in 3Q20 as another exceptional quarter of growth for notebook outweighed heavy desktop declines. The ongoing lockdowns continued to drive high demand for notebooks to enable entertainment, working, and studying from home. However, with offices largely remaining closed there was limited demand for stationary devices.

Japan: The GIGA project through which students all over the country receive PCs and tablets for online learning, as well as strong work-from-home demand helped maintain flat growth in the traditional PC market. The consumer segment declined year over year due to the high baseline set last year by the consumption tax hike and Windows 10 migrations.

Latin America: The traditional PC market posted double-digit growth for first time in five years. Despite price increases and economic contractions in many countries, the demand for portability continues to rise. Higher notebook demand due to work-from-home and online learning sustained the region’s growth, which is expected to continue in most countries into early 2021.

USA: The traditional PC market witnessed yet another extraordinary quarter posting strong double-digit shipment growth. Preliminary results reflect continued strong buyer sentiment fueled by stay-at-home PC needs and resultant inventory replenishment. While notebook shipments strengthened further due to sustained demand from the consumer and education segments, the desktop market declined year over year but found some respite as gaming systems remained in demand.

Top 5 Companies, Worldwide Traditional PC Shipments, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q3 2020 (Preliminary results, shipments are in thousands of units)
Company 3Q20 Shipments 3Q20 Market Share 3Q19 Shipments 3Q19 Market Share 3Q20/3Q19 Growth
1. Lenovo 19,272 23.7% 17,310 24.4% 11.3%
2. HP Inc. 18,690 23.0% 16,805 23.7% 11.2%
3. Dell Technologies 11,996 14.8% 12,098 17.1% -0.8%
4. Apple 6,890 8.5% 4,959 7.0% 38.9%
5. Acer Group 6,005 7.4% 4,644 6.6% 29.3%
Others 18,419 22.7% 15,091 21.3% 22.1%
Total 81,272 100.0% 70,907 100.0% 14.6%
Source: IDC Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, October 12, 2020


  • Some IDC estimates prior to financial earnings reports. Data for all companies are reported for calendar periods.
  • Shipments include shipments to distribution channels or end users. OEM sales are counted under the company/brand under which they are sold.
  • Traditional PCs include Desktops, Notebooks, and Workstations and do not include Tablets or x86 Servers. Detachable Tablets and Slate Tablets are part of the Personal Computing Device Tracker but are not addressed in this press release.


IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker gathers detailed market data in over 90 countries. The research includes historical and forecast trend analysis among other data.