The past 12 months has been a momentous time: not just for the IT channel but the world. As we approach 2021, we’ve asked our resident analysts in various categories to give us their highlights of 2020, and predictions for the year ahead.
In the PC space the pandemic has very much accelerated previously seen sector trends towards greater mobility—something we’re likely to see continue next year.
The story so far
The PC market has been witnessing a shift towards mobile solutions for some time, but demand has grown from all user segments over the course of 2020, hitting new heights. These were led by commercial organisations with little or no remote working infrastructure in place before government lockdowns were issued at the start of the year. The education and public sectors also drove demand for mobile solutions for similar reasons, while demand for desktops slowed.
There was a welcome revival in the consumer PC market during the course of the year as buyers decided to spend more on machines to support gaming, e-learning, streaming and working from home. During these exceptional times, notebook demand far outstripped supply, causing some problems for the channel. However, distributors played a vital role in helping to manage stock and providing credit where necessary, to keep things ticking over.
The good news is that demand will most likely stay strong, especially from commercial organisations and the education sector. Even with a vaccine finally on the horizon, more sporadic lockdowns and alternating periods between office and home-bound working lie in store, while students are forced to flit between online and in-person studying. An increase in public sector IT budgets next year will also have a welcome impact.
Businesses will be looking for efficient, secure PC solutions and good communications tools as expectations rise over the quality of video calls. At the same time, consumers will be keen to spend on IT some of the money they’ll save by not going out.
The result is likely to be strong notebook growth year-on-year in the first quarter of 2021, with demand holding up until at least the middle of the year. However, year-on-year performance will start to soften from Q2 2021, while desktops start to see an improvement in YoY performance, thanks to the decline in sales at this point in 2020.
There are two caveats: mobile solutions will still experience supply problems in 2021, although these will alleviate throughout the course of the year. It’s also true that the hardest-hit industries will not have much budget for next year, although PCs have been considered a necessity over 2020 distinct from spending in other areas like IT enterprise infrastructure.
© CONTEXT 2020