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Component shortages to constrain PC market through 2022

Chip and GPU shortages will prevent PC manufacturers from meeting demand through 2022. Supply constraints could limit PC market growth to single digits, forecasters say.

Component shortages will constrain PC market growth to the single digits through 2022 as manufacturers compete with other industries for chips, displays and GPUs, a research firm reported.

PC shipments will grow by 8.4% this year, followed by 2.5% in 2022, Canalys said in a recent report. The firm expected notebook shipments to rise by 9.4% this year, while tablet and desktop shipments are projected to increase by 8.3% and 4.4%, respectively.

"Crucial components, such as displays, GPUs and other smaller chips that drive PC internals will face a squeeze for most of 2021 and well into 2022, leaving a significant amount of demand unfulfilled," said Canalys Research Director Rushabh Doshi.

Competition among PC manufacturers, automakers and the IoT industry will drive a component shortage severe enough to cause PC shipments to decline in the second half of 2021, Doshi said. The drop will counter the growth in the first half.

The COVID-19 pandemic drove significant growth in PC sales in 2020. People forced to work from home replaced older computers, while parents bought PCs for their children's online instruction.

Once the component shortage ends, PC sales could return to double-digit growth. NPD Group analyst Stephen Baker said replacing old technology could sustain high demand for PCs. "We certainly didn't replace all the old computers in one shot in 2020."

Growth expected for the PC market
Component shortages will constrain PC market growth through 2022.

Companies will need new computers to support a post-pandemic hybrid environment where people split their workweek between the home and the office, analysts said. That will require workers to have PCs with sufficient display quality and horsepower for video conferencing.

"One of the things people have recognized over the last year is that having current technology has value," Baker said. "There are clear disadvantages to having old technology."

Mike Gleason is a reporter covering end-user computing topics such as desktop management. He previously covered communities in the MetroWest region of Massachusetts for the Milford Daily NewsWalpole TimesSharon Advocate and Medfield Press. He has also worked for newspapers in central Massachusetts and southwestern Vermont and served as a local editor for Patch. He can be found on Twitter at @MGleason_TT.

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