The PC and tablet market is expected to dip in 2020 but forecasts predict the worst of the coronavirus pandemic has passed and will start to see growth by the end of 2022.
PC and tablet shipments in 2020 are expected to drop by seven per cent to 367.8 million units, with PC shipments expected to hold steady in 2021 and grow by two per cent in 2022.
This is according to research firm Canalys, which claimed that the second to fourth quarters of the year are not expected to be as severe as the first quarter.
China’s return to the supply chain and manufacturing base is said to be the major factor behind the recovery, but the declines are still expected as businesses prioritise vital spending over refreshing PCs, Canalys analyst Ishan Dutt said.
“Desktop refresh will suffer to a greater degree as businesses face prolonged uncertainty about the scope of their operations and dedicated office space needs,” he said.
Meanwhile, demand for notebooks has surged, and is expected to continue, as businesses pivot to and expand their remote working capabilities, while tablets are expected to slump, particularly in Q4.
Yet despite the short-term declines, Rushabh Doshi, Canalys research director, said COVID-19 has given the PC market a longer-term boost.
“The need for a high-performance mobile computing device has never been more pronounced. As countries emerge from this crisis and the ensuing economic slump, spending on technology solutions will be a key recovery driver,” Doshi said.
“But it is important to keep things in perspective: a modest recovery from a weak 2020 will not see the PC market return to the highs of 2019 for some years to come.”
On a regional basis, China’s PC and tablet shipment decline is expected to only be three per cent, and then bounce back to four per cent growth in 2021.
“While China was the worst hit economy due the pandemic in Q1 2020, it is one of the best placed in Q2 2020 and beyond,” Canalys research stated. “It has already borne the brunt of the pandemic and, barring an unlikely second wave in the second half of 2020, we expect demand in China to be robust for the rest of the year.”
However, China’s economy is reliant on export, and if deeper recessions hit, this could soften its recovery.
The Asia Pacific region’s PC and tablet market forecast expects to see a decline of only one per cent in 2020 and will return to growth in 2021. That growth however is expected to occur slowly, as the majority of South and Southeast Asian countries are just now seeing an ease on lockdowns.
“In these markets, while commercial demand is expected to be strong for the rest of 2020, consumer demand will not keep up,” the analysis claimed. “As PCs are not essential goods for most consumers, ongoing and upcoming recessions in these countries will adversely affect demand.”
Meanwhile, North America is expected to see a 6 per cent decline in its total PC and tablet shipments, with its growth delayed until 2022, which is estimated to be 4 per cent. Latin America is forecast to see PC shipments dive by 16 per cent in Q2 2020, followed by declines of 6 per cent and 9 per cent in Q3 and Q4, but will return to growth in Q2 2021.
As for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, its PC and tablet market decline is expected to drop by 10 per cent in 2020 and then grow by 1 per cent in 2021.
This forecast comes as research firms, Canalys included, claimed in April that the worst of the global PC market was yet to come.