During the fourth quarter of last year notebook shipments amounted to 268 million units, they turned out up 19% compared to the highs of 2020. Thanks to a demand that has continued to remain strong, driven by the constant need for work in hybrid mode.
In the last three months of 2021, according to the research firm Strategy Analytics, commercial demand also benefited from the arrival of Windows 11 and the growth of the Device as a Service, i.e. the offering of PCs, smartphones and other mobile computing devices as a paid service. To this must certainly also be added the strong discounts and year-end incentives offered to consumers and SMEs.
In order to keep pace with the high demand, and with an ongoing component supply crisis, the industry has decided to give priority to notebook production over other products. In addition, the orders accumulated in the third quarter due to the shortage of components were fulfilled in the fourth quarter. In this early 2022, the analysts of Strategy Analytics warn the sector that it must be very cautious about persistent supply problems and forincrease in production costs and transport of goods.
According to what was stated by Eric Smith of Connected Computing, the falling demand for Chromebooks in the second half of 2021 was offset by that of Windows 11, which took off in the fourth quarter of 2021 also driven by corporate updates. The Windows operating system has also remained the most chosen by consumers thanks also to gaming PCs and notebooks whose demand has grown during the holiday season.
As for the producers, Lenovo shipped 16.2 million units in the fourth quarter of 2021 (63.4 million in all of 2021), with a decrease in growth of 9% but with a growth of 6% compared to the previous quarter. HP kept the second position with 14.5 million units shipped (59 million in 2021) but down by -4% on an annual basis. Dell has instead scored a record with 13.2 million units shipped (45.7 million in 2021), a growth rate of 14% year-on-year and an 8% growth compared to the previous quarter.
Things also went very well for macOS which allowed Apple to set an all-time record for MacBook shipments with over 6.6 million during the holiday quarter (24.4 million units in all of 2021), in growth of 11% compared to the fourth quarter of the previous year. Apple attributed this growth to both the release of the M1 family of processors and the sound new MacBook Pro released last fall.
Also worth mentioning the return of Acer in the top 5 major manufacturers with 5.2 million units and a sequential growth of 6% compared to the previous quarter which however suffered from component procurement problems.