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The US computer market has just had its best quarter in 10 years

A customer browses computers at the Best Buy store in Northbrook, Ill.

Tim Boyle Bloomberg | Getty Images

Computer makers shipped 71.4 million computers in the quarter ending in September, up 3.6 percent from the same period last year, according to technology research firm Gartner.

16.5 million computers were shipped to the United States, an 1

1.4 percent increase over the same period last year. This is the fastest growth rate of computers in the United States in a decade, according to Gartner.

The PC market has been shrinking and shutting down over the past decade as smartphones have become dominant in many markets and businesses are waiting for new versions of Microsoft Windows before upgrading. But this quarter, consumer demand for new computers worldwide was the highest in five years, as the global coronavirus pandemic and simultaneous blocking boosted demand for home entertainment and distance learning.

“On the consumer side, it’s really been declining for 10 years, in part because a lot of people have been using smartphones,” said Gartner researcher Mikako Kitagawa. “But in the United States and Western Europe, the supply of laptops was really strong because everyone had to prepare for work from home.”

Lenovo’s worldwide shipments have increased by 8.3% compared to the previous year to 18.3 million shipments, making it the biggest beneficiary of this trend. HP, Dell, Apple and Acer have completed the top five PC makers.

Last week, Canalys, another research firm, found that computer shipments rose 12.7 percent year-on-year. However, Canalys has included laptops running Google’s Chrome operating system, which are cheaper and more popular with schools, while Gartner’s assessment excludes them, focusing on laptops and desktops with Apple’s Windows or MacOS.

Including the Chromebook, the overall computer market grew 9 percent, Gartner said. Chromebook shipments have grown by 90% year on year.

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