US PC shipments soar 73% in the first quarter as Apple falls from top spot

·2 min read

With increased demand from the pandemic, Canalys reports that U.S. PC shipments were up 73% over the same period last year. That added up to a total of 34 million units sold. While Apple had a good quarter with sales up 36%, it was surpassed by HP, which sold 11 million units in total with annual growth up an astonishing 122.6%.

As Canalys pointed out, the first quarter tends to be a weaker one for Apple hardware following the holiday season, but it's a big move for HP nonetheless. Other companies boasting big growth numbers include Samsung at 116% and Lenovo at 92.8%. Dell was up 29.2%, fairly modest compared with the rest of the group.

Overall though it was a stunning quarter as units flew off the shelves. Canalys Research Analyst Brian Lynch says some of this can be attributed to the increased demand from 2020 as people moved to work and school from home and needed new machines to get their work done, but regardless the growth was unrivaled historically. " … Q1 2021 still rates as one of the best first quarters the industry has ever seen. Vendors have prioritized fulfilling U.S. backlogs before supply issues are addressed in other parts of the world," Lynch said in a statement.

Canalys Q1 2021 PC sales by vendor.
Canalys Q1 2021 PC sales by vendor.

Image Credits: Canalys

Perhaps not surprisingly, low-cost Chromebooks were the most popular item as people looking to refresh their devices, especially for education purposes, turned to the lower end of the PC market, which likely had a negative impact on higher-priced Apple products, as well contributing to its drop from the top spot.

That's where Samsung and other Chromebook vendors really shined. The firm reports that over the last year Chromebook sales shot up 548% with Samsung leading that growth with an astonishing 1,963% growth rate. Asus, HP and Lenovo all reported Chromebook sales rates up over 900%.

Those numbers include desktops, notebooks, tablets and workstations, but it was the notebook and tablets that get the bulk of the action here with notebooks up a whopping 131% YoY. While tablets didn't grow at the same rate, sales were still up 51% with 11 million units sold in the quarter.

The company does not expect the market to slow significantly in the coming quarters with continued demand in the education market. While parts shortages, particularly in the chip market, continue to dog the industry, this will only continue to feed demand in the coming quarters, according to the firm.

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