According to a recent study by Canalys, sales of PCs (desktops, laptops and workstations) increased by 48% compared to the same period last year during the first quarter of the year. A whopping 16.1 million units were sold despite major component shortage issues facing the industry.
HP, Lenovo, Google, Microsoft and Apple: the big winners
When it comes to absolute PC sales numbers, HP and Lenovo have taken the lead. The keys to its success are given by Trang Pham, Research Analyst at Canalys:
In this time of inventory shortage, the sellers who can fill orders faster are the ones who win. During the first quarter, many distributors and outlets reported a large supply of HP equipment, especially AMD models.
In this situation where delivery delays are inevitable, HP was able to manage its channel very well, be transparent about delivery times and give certainty to its customers, which prevented them from looking for other alternatives.
Lenovo also had an exceptional first quarter, with particularly successful Chromebook sales as Google continues to focus heavily on bringing its platform to business customers. Its new manufacturing facility in Hungary will further accelerate its ability to meet demand in Europe.
Apple was the one that grew the most in terms of percentage with a spectacular increase of 127% compared to the same period of 2020. Its new devices accompanied by the fantastic Apple M1 chip caused a sensation in a sluggish industry.
The same analyst points out the following about those from Cupertino:
Apple’s success makes sense as it has a good Mac user base in Western Europe, plenty of disposable income, and a great community of enthusiasts and early adopters.
Its recent decision to design its own processors shows its ambition while also reflecting Intel’s efforts to achieve 5 and 3 nanometer processes. Working closely with TSMC, Apple managed to bring 5nm to the Mac much earlier. Apple shows that hardware, software, and services work best when created together.
The arrival of the vaccine in Western Europe did not significantly improve social and commercial activity during these first four months. It has been a difficult four-month period and many countries like France, Germany and Italy have been hit hard by a new wave of COVID-19.
According to Ben Stanton, research analyst at Canalys:
Despite economic openness and the fact that we can already see the light at the end of the tunnel thanks to vaccines, the post-COVID world will never be the same again. Telecommuting is here to stay and the digital transformation has accelerated. Applications and workflows are increasingly cloud-based, and workers demand hybrid desktops and flexibility. The supply of PCs is highly unlikely to meet this demand, which continues to increase, over the next 12 months.
A golden opportunity for Microsoft and PCs with Sun Valley
With this data on the table, Microsoft’s renewed approach to Windows is well understood. After several years of ostracism, Microsoft announced in 2020 a major reinvestment in Windows at all levels, driven by the pandemic and the acceleration of the digital transformation it has brought about.
The Sun Valley upgrade will be the first major consequence of this reinvestment. According to Satya Nadella, this is “one of the best Windows updates of the last decade”. From what is known, a major renovation will be introduced in the interface of the operating system and its native applications, as well as new functions focused on consumers and favoring use in touch-sensitive environments.
The most recent rumors speak of an event to be held this month where Microsoft will present this “new Windows” which could even be given a name other than Windows 10. This news comes after learning of the recent temporary (and probably permanent cancellation) ) of Windows 10X.
Microsoft has a golden opportunity to offer users an operating system that allows them to enjoy their new PCs and, in particular, to further boost PC sales, especially convertibles like Surface.