Now could be the best time to get a new tablet or Chromebook

(Image credit: Kaboompics / Pexels)

Last year saw the global PC market make a big comeback with device shipments reaching 143.7m units during the fourth quarter marking the third consecutive quarter of annual growth according to new data from Canalys.

Throughout the whole year though, PC and tablet shipments grew by 17 percent in 2020 to reach 458.2m units representing the highest volume since 2015.

Chinese PC giant Lenovo led the market during both Q4 and for the full year with shipments of 28.8m and 87m units respectively. Following closely behind in second place, Apple managed to ship 26.4m Macs and iPads in the fourth quarter to reach a total of 81.4m units for the full year. HP, Dell and Samsung took the remaining spots in Canalys' list of the top PC vendors and each company posted double digit shipment growth during the last quarter of 2020.

As was the case last quarter, the continued surge in demand was likely the result of more employees working from home and students shifting to distance learning as a result of the pandemic.

Tablets and Chromebooks

During the holiday season, tablets continued to see strong sales and shipments were able to hit an all-time high of 52.8m units. Compared to 2019 though, tablets sales saw a 28 percent increase and a total of 160.6m units were shipped throughout last year.

Canalys analyst Ishan Dutt provided further insight on last year's record tablet sales in a press release, saying:

“The growth momentum enjoyed by tablets shows just how important easy access to computing power has become in the current time. Their versatility across, not just different form factors and price points, but also connectivity options, make them an ideal device across a variety of use-cases, from simple slates for e-learning and content consumption all the way to high-performance detachables for productivity users who are adapting to spending a larger proportion of time at home.” 

At the same time though, Chromebooks also saw a huge increase in demand with the overall market almost quadrupling in size when compared to the same period a year ago. HP retained the top spot in the market with 3.5m units shipped while Lenovo came in second with 2.8m units shipped. Acer and Dell also maintained their spots during Q4 with each vendor shipping around 1.5m units. Samsung took the fifth spot after surpassing Asus and the Korean company shipped just over a million units in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Expect to see PC, tablet and Chromebook makers continue to innovate with new features and designs in 2021 as they look to build on the momentum from last year's strong sales.

Via Canalys

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.