Mobile PC Sales Growth Dips in May but Long-Term Expectations are Strong

Marie-Christine Pygott, senior analyst at CONTEXT
Marie-Christine Pygott, senior analyst at CONTEXT

Volume sales for mobile PCs across Europe declined in May, but figures remain substantially higher than 2019 comparatives and demand will stay strong in the second half of the year, according to CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

Although volume sales of notebooks across European distribution were up 6% year-on-year in April, the downward trend started to accelerate in the first few weeks of May.

However, this can be explained by several intersecting trends. First, there’s been a slowdown in education sector deals of the sort seen in the UK, when the Department for Education (DfE) purchased 1.3 million laptops and tablets for remote learning during the pandemic.

Year-on-year comparisons also play a part: this time last year most countries were experiencing their first full month of lockdown, spurring huge volume growth (+45%) in notebook PCs. This impacts the picture of the market today.

However, despite these trends, mobile PCs sales are significantly higher than 2019 in most major markets. In the UK, there was a drop of 20% in notebook volume sales in the first eight weeks of Q2 but volumes are still 60% higher than two years ago, for example.

As a result, CONTEXT anticipates single-digit year-on-year growth for mobile PCs in the second half of 2021.

The long-term shift to mobility that the pandemic super-charged is still ongoing. Although there may be a slowdown in consumer demand in the second half of the year as people spend more time away from home and prices rise, the long-term picture is pretty healthy”, said Marie-Christine Pygott, senior analyst at CONTEXT. “Hybrid working plans and continued demand from the education sector will boost sales in the commercial space, so we’ll see overall growth in H2 2021 despite a high 2020 baseline and ongoing supply issues.

In the desktop space there have been signs of recovery of late, with European distribution sales increasing 14% year-on-year in April.

Due to weaker 2020 comparisons and increasing demand as commercial projects resume, CONTEXT anticipates desktop growth will hit the high single-digits or low double-digits in the second half of 2021.