PC sales skyrocket amid remote working demands

Volume sales of PCs through Western Europe’s largest distributors increased by +38% year-on-year in the first three weeks of March as the accelerating spread of coronavirus produced a surge in sales of remote-working devices, according to the latest data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

As the crisis across Europe worsened, and countries took successively stricter measures to contain the spread of the virus, the resulting demand for home-office equipment led to a +51% year-on-year growth in sales of notebooks and a +9% rise in those of desktops. The increase was greater for business-targeted products: commercial notebook sales were up by +56% compared to +44% for consumer-targeted products while, for desktops, there was year-on-year growth (of +16%) only in the business-targeted segment.

Looking at the top Western European markets, the growth in notebook sales was led by Italy, the European country first hit by the outbreak and the first to introduce strict measures to slow down the spread: Italian distributors saw notebook sales increase by +110% in the first three weeks of March. Spain was next with a growth rate of +87%, followed by Germany (+52%), the UK (+50%) and France (+5%).

The surge in demand for home-working devices over the past couple of weeks has led to a significant reduction in notebook stock in a number of Western European countries. With incoming supply also disrupted to varying degrees (depending on the OEM and product category) by manufacturing and logistics issues, providing PCs for the rising number of home workers could turn into a challenge over the next few weeks.

“The present exceptionally strong growth rates are related to the sudden need to migrate employees to home-working and are expected to be temporary”, said Marie-Christine Pygott, senior analyst at CONTEXT. “Nevertheless, in many organisations, the current crisis is likely to have raised awareness of the economic necessity of providing sound digital solutions, and this is expected to result in increased investment in this area over the longer term.”

Year-on-year notebook volume growth in early March 2020

Countries (early March -first 3 weeks)
United Kingdom – 50.3%
Germany – 52.4%
Italy – 110.3%
Spain – 87.1%
France – 5.4%
Netherlands – 35.2%
Switzerland – 40.7%
Sweden – 13.0%
Denmark – 32.2%
Portugal – 26.3%
Ireland – 121.7%
Austria – 56.0%
Norway – 46.2%
Poland – 51.0%

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine