The last thing the personal computer industry expected was to see a sales boost in 2020. Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit, closing down offices and schools around the world. Millions of people suddenly needed laptops to work from home and complete classes online.
Global computer sales shot up by 11% to 72.3 million units in the second quarter compared to the same quarter last year, according to preliminary estimates from IDC, a global market research company. The jump was even higher for the US, where sales grew by 14% to 21.4 million during the same period compared to the second quarter of 2019.
In a normal year, computer sales don't swing by more than 5% to 7%, according to Jeriel Ong, an equity research analyst at Deutsche Bank. The industry had also seen its sales decline by almost 100 million units a year from their peak in 2009 and 2010, and prior to the pandemic, people in the industry had been generally skeptical about the possibility of growth. This year, they were expecting sales to be mostly flat or even negative after many companies upgraded their machines in 2019, just before Microsoft stopped support for its Windows 7 operating system.
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