Why it matters: It’s not just consoles, graphics cards, and processors that are struggling to keep up with demand—PC manufacturers are feeling the effects, too. Lenovo, the largest PC vendor globally, has warned that its stock has reached one-third of normal levels due to the pandemic and more people working from home.
According to a recent report from market research group Canalys, 2020 saw global PC shipments reach their highest levels in five years. 458.2 million units were shipped, a 16 percent increase compared to the previous year.
Lenovo took the largest slice of the PC pie in 2020, shipping 87 million devices (19 percent), but that demand has impacted stock levels. Gianfranco Lanci, COO at Lenovo, said (via The Resister) that its shipments during the final quarter of the year would have been even higher were it not for the “limitations on supply.”
The Reg notes that most tech distributors keep around six weeks of stock to avoid running short, but Lanci says, “in some cases during last quarter we were down to two or three weeks, so we were down to very, very low levels.”
It appears the situation isn’t going to change any time soon; Lanci says that there have been no signs of demand slowing down since the winter quarter. Lenovo’s CEO, Yang Yuanqing, believes that the extra time people now spend on PCs and tablets will result in faster replacement cycles, adding further pressure, and the company expects PC shipments will continue to grow over the next few years.