Notebook PCs set a new high with 268 million units shipped in 2021

Year-end volumes were 19% higher than 2020 levels, largely overcoming supply constraints, Strategy Analitics research reveals

Image by Joshua Woroniecki from Pixabay

Commercial demand stayed strong for notebook PCs in Q4 2021 thanks to Windows 11 performance and growth of DaaS (Device as a Service) while SMBs and consumers grabbed huge holiday discounts to end the year strong.

The industry prioritized notebook PC production in the face of supply constraints to keep up with hybrid working needs. According to a new report by Strategy Analytics, notebook shipments grew 19% over the previous highs reached in 2020 to reach 268 million units. As 2022 begins, the industry must be cautious about lingering supply issues and increased freight and manufacturing costs.

Exhibit: Dell and Apple Grew the Fastest in 2021* All figures are rounded (Source: Strategy Analytics, Inc.)


The full report from Strategy Analytics’ Connected Computing Devices (CCD) service, Preliminary Global Notebook PC Shipments and Market Share: Q4 2021 Results can be found here:

Chirag Upadhyay, Industry Analyst said, “This was another strong quarter for notebooks, capping an end to another strong year. The continued demand of hybrid work environment supported the developed market’s growth which was also driven by Window 11 and DaaS attractive price offerings. Emerging markets are driven by continued demand from small and medium businesses whilst consumers continue to shift towards mobility. Also, delayed orders from Q3 2021 due to component shortage and supply issues were fulfilled in the fourth quarter.”

Eric Smith, Director – Connected Computing added, “As we witnessed a slowdown in Chromebook demand in the second half of 2021, Windows demand took off in Q4 2021. Windows 11 enterprise upgrades gave Windows notebooks strong momentum during the quarter across all regions. Microsoft also attracted top PC vendors with the recently launched Window 11 SE for K-8 education, targeting the surge in Chrome market share during the pandemic. Windows also remained the popular choice for consumers as gaming notebook PC demand continued during holiday season.”

  • Lenovo shipped (sell-in) 16.2 million units in Q4 2021 (calendar year), representing -9% growth decline and +6% growth compared to previous quarter
  • HP maintained the second position as shipments reached 14.5 million in Q4 2021 at a -4% decline year-over-year
  • Dell registered record notebook PC shipments of 13.2 million units, a 14% growth rate year-on-year and 8% growth compared to previous quarter
  • Apple MacOS carried the momentum from September quarter and set an all-time record in the company’s history with shipping more than 6.6 million MacBooks during the holiday quarter, an 11% growth from Q4 2020
  • Acer returned to the top 5 ranks by shipping 5.2 million units, a sequential 6% growth compared to the previous quarter which was negatively impacted by supply issues


The EMEA PC market grew 7.4% year-over-year, reaching 26 million units, the highest volume in five years, Gartner reports. This growth was led by business PC demand associated with increasing economic and social recovery, as many businesses, schools and universities began to return to in-person operations.

The U.S. PC market saw its second consecutive quarter of double-digit decline during the fourth quarter of 2021, with shipments declining 24.2% year-over-year. This decrease was largely driven by weak Chromebook shipments as demand from educational institutions continued to slow. While U.S. business PC sales were generally strong due to the recovering economy and the reopening of offices, supply chain delays impacted shipment volumes, especially in the large enterprise market. The holiday season also saw weaker PC sales than in 2020 due to modest consumer demand.

Dell secured the top spot in the U.S. PC market based on shipments with 28.5% market share. HP followed with 25.9% of the U.S. PC market share.

Excluding Japan, the Asia Pacific market grew by 11.5% year-over-year. The mobile PC market was particularly strong in the region, as many private enterprises pre-ordered extra mobile PCs in anticipation of potential market shortages.

“The pandemic significantly changed business and consumer PC user behavior, as people had to adopt to new ways of working and living,” said Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner. “Post-pandemic, some of the newly established ways of using PCs will remain regular practice, such as remote or hybrid workstyles, taking online courses and communicating with friends and family online.”

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