MORRISVILLE – Global personal computer sales soared to their highest first quarter total in nearly a decade, and Lenovo took advantage of demand to not only increase sales but maintain its market share grip as the world’s top seller.

So says research firm Canalys in first quarter 2021 data released Tuesday.

Lenovo, which operates a pair of headquarters in Beijing and Morrisville, built its market share lead although No. 2 HP cut into that margin.

Lenovo leads at 24.7% vs. 23.3% for its rival. A year ago Lenovo led 23.8% to 21.9%.

Machine sales for Lenovo rose more than 61% year-over-year to 20.4 million.

The global tech giant has seen sales increase as work-from-home demand soared during the pandemic.

Canalys graphic

Canalys notes that the onset of the pandemic in March 2020 led to a huge sales decline, thus skewing first-quarter growth stats this quarter.

However, the industry increased sales to 82.7 million – the best first quarter performance since 2021.

“Backlogs on orders from 2020, particularly for notebooks, were a key driver, though new demand is also a factor as smaller businesses begin their recoveries,” Canalys noted.

The Big 5 (Lenovo, HP, Dell, Apple, Acer) manufacturers all made substantial gains in year-over-year sales.

Challenges remain for the industry, though, from supply chain to semiconductors and other “internal hardware,” Canalys reported.

“The supply chain issue plaguing the industry is a good problem to have,” said Rushabh Doshi, Canalys Research Director. “As average prices rise due to the scarcity of internal hardware, innovation in design is triggering long-term changes to the way PC vendors approach supply and demand. Chipmakers, too, are now bullish about personal computing, and have increased their planned future investments to capitalize on the long-term opportunity. While the pandemic is not over just yet, there is light at the end of the tunnel. This is also spurring SMB investment in computing, which halted abruptly in 2020.”

Canalys chart

And those problems aren’t going away.

“Despite the concerted efforts of the supply chain to ramp up production, Canalys expects the PC market to be supply-constrained for most of this year,” said Ishan Dutt, Canalys Analyst. “Adding to this, the potential for more black swan events to create even more disruption and uncertainty looms large. The hindering effect of shortages on countries’ economic revivals should be a wake-up call for governments to increase investment in semiconductor manufacturing.”

Canalys stats include Chromebooks as a subset of notebooks but do not include tablets.