PC sales surge, boosted by homebound workers and students

Global PC shipments rose 11% to 72.3 million in the quarter

Personal-computer sales rebounded in the June quarter, driven by higher demand from workers and students forced to study and work from home amid the coronavirus, according to preliminary data from two industry-research firms.

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Global PC shipments rose 11% to 72.3 million in the quarter, with the U.S. posting its highest quarterly-shipment volume in more than a decade, according to preliminary data from International Data Corp.

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Meanwhile, Gartner Inc. said the quarter’s shipments grew 2.8% to 64.8 million, and pointed to a short-term recovery as vendors restocked channels and mobile-PC demand increased.

Shipments in the March quarter were bogged down by production and logistical challenges, despite higher demand from remote work and school orders in response to the pandemic.

Despite some lingering logistics issues early in the June quarter, cost and frequency of air and sea freight moved closer to pre-pandemic levels, IDC said.

WORKING FROM HOME COST EMPLOYEES MONEY BUT 35% WANT TO CONTINUE IT FULL-TIME

At the same time, the firm said, PC makers ramped up production, in some cases surpassing previous levels, helping vendors meet the surge in demand.

“What remains to be seen is if this demand and high level of usage continues during a recession and into the post-Covid world since budgets are shrinking while schools and workplaces reopen,” said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
DELLDELL TECHNOLOGIES60.07-0.41-0.68%
AAPLAPPLE INC.439.63+3.88+0.89%
HPQHP INC.17.88+0.11+0.60%

Much of the difference in the data from the data providers comes from how each company defines PCs. Hardware makers in recent years have increasingly blurred the lines between personal computers and devices such as tablets.

IDC data ranked HP Inc. as the No. 1 vendor, followed by Lenovo Group Ltd., while Gartner data had Lenovo slightly ahead.

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Dell Technologies Inc., Apple Inc. and Acer Inc. rounded out the top five.

Write to Maria Armental at maria.armental@wsj.com