Gaming and PC Hardware sales climb due to remote and home working growth
Sales of PCs and hardware have jumped thanks to remote and home workers multiple systems
With people forced to stay and work from home by the pandemic, global Personal Computer hardware sales are in the midst of another lucrative quarter. Expected to continue through this year's first half, hardware sales became exceptionally robust after the 1st lockdown, rising even further after the holiday season. In the beginning, there was a surge in gaming software and laptop sales that left vendors scrambling to patch up supply chain issues.
By July 2020, interest had started to shift from mobile devices to PCs, including desktop, laptop, and workstation computers. Industry players say they saw their margins in a 10-year-high as work, learning, and gaming from home upped overall demand.
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PC Manufacturers Respond to Unprecedented Hardware Demand
The US and Europe fuelled the sales increase that allowed PC hardware manufacturers to ship an extra 2.8% of components compared to the previous year. A year-over-year increase was pegged at 11% by the end of that quarter.
During the first few months of 2020, supply chain logistics broke down mainly because of the pandemic grinding manufacturing to a halt in the Asia Pacific region. Since most of the hardware components are made there, PC vendors were left with insufficient stock to face strong consumer demand during the initial lockdown.
The demand for PC hardware components is surpassing previous expectations as work-from-home, gaming, and e-learning needs rise. There was heightened demand for video collaboration hardware as offices and schools had shut down to start relying on conferencing hardware. As restrictions continued to tighten around minimizing physical contact, families also started connecting via video conferencing, making PC hardware even more relevant.
Chinas Lenovo group and California-based HP held about 25% of each of the global markets, while Apple and Dell rounded up the lists top four. Many people prefer to take their zoom meetings, play games, or work on worksheets on the PC's hardware and pure graphics power, which smartphones or tablets can't compete with. HP USA Link
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Has the Pandemic Fuelled a Shift from Portable Device Use to the PC?
The just-concluded last quarter of 2020 has seen a record number of PC and hardware components sold since 2010. Data shows that over 302 million units were moved in the previous year, with sales equivalents to a 13% rise from the previous year. There were especially significant sales in the fourth quarter, driven by the pandemic's 2nd lockdown, and boosted by the traditional holiday sales.
In particular, Google's Chromebooks saw an 80% growth in consumer demand, accelerating shipments of 30.6 million units. In the fourth quarter alone, the company saw over 11.5 million pieces of its laptop PCs delivered into new hardware consumers' hands. view Chromebook Prices
Industry watchdogs for the consolidated PC vendors HP, Dell, Asus, Lenovo, Acer and Apple say this strong demand should not abate through the first half of this year. While causing economic fallout in many industries, the pandemic has driven PC sales high enough to pull some retailers out of bankruptcy.
Previously, a 2018 shortage for Intel processors had seen offsets in merchant supply chains, but the larger players withstood the strain. There has been a significant shift from on-the-premise hardware to cloud-based solutions such or server storage, contributing to further PC hardware sales declines.
In addition to that, PC sales had been facing stiff competition from the rising usage of mobile devices such as phones and tablets, significantly biting large chunks off their traditional market.
The Ever-Growing Video Gaming Sector Has Its Moment of Epiphany
As covid-19 restrictions rolled in, millions were forcibly kept at home looking for new ways to entertain themselves, and there was an instant spike in gaming and e-sports revenues. By April of 2020, gaming software providers, among them, Nintendo, Microsoft, Activision and Twitch were thriving in the pandemic-created condition.
Nintendo reported that their Switch consoles had seen sales go up by 24% year over year, and its new game offering has already sold 13.5 million copies less than a month since its release. On the other hand, Microsoft disclosed that its multiplayer Game Pass subscriber engagement service had swollen by 130% across two months. Together with Sony’s PlayStation 5, Microsoft also launched their much anticipates Xbox X Series in time for the 2020 holiday season.
Computer gaming consoles, including headsets, keyboards, and mice, increased by 8% from the time people had to stay at home. As professional real-life physical sporting events took a break from the TV calendar, many turned to their PC for multiplayer racing or fighting games.
Logitech, a major US-Swiss corporation that manufactures these accessories, including webcams and portable Bluetooth speakers, saw an unprecedented share rise of 6.6%. CEO Bracken Darren cited the hardware manufacturers' products as more relevant than ever, delivering near double-digit growth.
What’s The Way Forward for PC Hardware Sales In 2021 And Beyond?
Despite the gains for PC hardware derived from the enforced stay at home restrictions; vendors are starting to devote funds to other industry segments. High margin investment is moving away from hardware into cloud-based services and software development.
Names like HP, which has spun off and grown its enterprise solutions segment HPE into a separate entity, leverage in the worldwide Internet of Things (IoT) market. Others like Lenovo are positioning themselves as strong IoT players, as seen with its strategically named Device+Cloud solution that invests heavily in big data, AI, and VR/AR.
Even though working, learning, and gaming from home have pushed the PC market forward (and opportunities have resulted from this market explosion), consumer market strength can't be overlooked. As chrome-based devices expand beyond the pandemic-fueled demand, there's a continued all-time high in gaming PCs and monitor sales.
This year, the PC hardware market is set for a continuation of the unprecedented growth it saw last year, mainly thanks to the coronavirus. As a result of the pandemic and the numerous lockdowns, workers, learners, and gamers have been ordering accessories and hardware upgrades for their computers.
The market is also tempered on possible economic hardships that consumers could experience in the future. But the forecast is heavily based on the present consumer confidence. In the face of PC and gaming console cycles, predictions for growth are still over five years.
Accessory analysis for game recording and streaming hardware now includes categories for studio-worthy cameras, capture cards, personal lighting, and microphones. These have become common PC accessories, particularly for teleconferencing, el-learning, and high-end gaming, and they're making in-roads into the mass market.
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