Notebook Revenues Continue Strong Performance versus 2019

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

Notebook revenues through European distribution have continued their impressive performance in the first few weeks of Q4 2021 as organisations look to support the new hybrid workplace and consumer sales are up, according to new data from CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

The latest analysis shows the delta between current sales figures and those of two years ago continuing to grow, although strong comparatives with 2020 meant a 7% year-on-year (YoY) decline in the first 6.5 weeks of Q4.

Whilst trending upwards over recent weeks, desktop sales still remain below the 2019 average as commercial buyers focus on notebooks—both to support their flexible hybrid workforce and to ensure they have enough mobile computing options in case a new wave of mandatory lockdowns sweeps Europe”, said Marie-Christine Pygott, senior analyst at CONTEXT.

Channel players on the up

When it comes to notebooks, SMB and corporate resellers are trending slightly below last year’s figures, although they continue to be way ahead of 2019 sales. Feedback from the market suggests that even though demand remains high for mobile devices, organisations are being more selective. They’re less desperate now for devices, and therefore are focusing more on the specs and performance they need.

Corporate reseller sales remain strong with recent 2021 figures climbing closer to those of a year ago. The impact of large government education sector deals last year appears to be lessening.

In the consumer retail and e-tailer channel segments, revenue growth has exceeded 2020 figures in recent weeks thanks to rising prices and a positive shift in product mix—for example, towards more gaming notebooks ahead of Black Friday, which pushed up ASPs.

Notebook workstation sales surge

One segment that has recorded consistently impressive performance during the pandemic is notebook workstations. Revenues nearly doubled between early Q4 2020 and now. Even before the crisis, the segment benefitted from the shift to mobile products. This accelerated at the start of the pandemic, both because of improved supply versus regular notebooks and increased demand from healthcare organisations.

Notebook workstations continue to see growth because:

  • the shift to mobile began a lot later in workstations, so that sales have only recently overtaken desktop form factors

  • low supply of docking stations forced many potential notebook buyers to switch to this segment, where wired connectivity is built into devices

In fact, performance for docking stations in general would have been far better in 2021 were it not for chip component shortages which impacted the supply side. Demand will remain strong for these and headsets, mice and other notebook accessories in Q4 2021 and 2022, as the hybrid workplace continues to take shape”, added Marie-Christine.

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