COVID-19’s impact on the workplace and on educational institutions has been dramatic, for both good and ill. Many companies that can have adopted work-from-home policies, and the school year that is just beginning also will see more distance-learning than ever before.
A new report from Taiwan-based tech industry analysis firm TrendForce says that the increases in working from home and distance education generated “explosive growth” in demand for notebook computers. The firm estimates that notebook shipments this year will reach nearly 188 million units, a year-over-year jump of 14.4%, and the highest total since 2012 when notebook shipments reached their nadir.
During the second quarter of this year, demand for notebooks rose sequentially by nearly 74%. Nore than 53 million units were shipped in the second quarter.
TrendForce estimates that third-quarter shipments will rise sequentially by just 4%, but that implies more than 55 million notebook shipments for the quarter.
A preliminary estimate for the fourth quarter projects year-over-year growth in the fourth quarter of 15.8%, although the sequential total may actually decline.
According to TrendForce, the most popular notebooks this year, based on year-over-year shipment growth, will be Chromebooks. TrendForce forecasts sales growth of 42.4% to 24.3 million units, or almost 13% of all notebook sales in 2020.
The notebook maker with the highest sequential growth in the second quarter was HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ). The company shipped nearly 14.5 million units, representing sequential growth of 93%. For the third quarter, TrendForce is forecasting shipments of HP notebooks totaling nearly 14.6 million units.
The second-leading manufacturer was Lenovo, which shipped 9.2 million units in the second quarter, a sequential increase of 53%. In the third quarter, TrendForce estimates that Lenovo will ship 11.8 million units, a sequential gain of nearly 29%. TrendForce noted that Lenovo’s aggressive pricing in the United States and Europe boosted the company’s second-quarter sales, but that the availability of components may not be sufficient to meet build schedules.
Dell Technologies Inc. (NYSE: DELL) shipped 9.5 million units in the second quarter for a sequential gain of 48%. Third-quarter shipments, however, are projected to drop by 14% to around 8.2 million units. TrendForce attributes the decline to the company’s strong second-quarter performance, which has set a challenging comparison for the current quarter.
Notebook shipments from Asus and Acer rose sequentially by 63% and 74%, respectively in the second quarter. Projected third-quarter growth of 24% for Asus and 21% for Acer are contingent on the two firms’ ability to obtain components from their suppliers. With demand for notebooks so high, component availability also remains a problem for these two manufacturers.