PC is overtaking mobile – smartphones saw it coming

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Cat Mules

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COVID-19 economy

As we proceed through the uncertain times of the pandemic, reports from leading virtual providers remind us that PCs are here to stay.

While mobile is usually a bigger business than PCs, with reduced market conditions mid-pandemic the tables have turned with PC use surging while mobile use has dropped.

Economic reports from leading providers show that PCs are critical for conference calls, work and education – meeting our needs in living, learning and connecting with friends. Mobile use is plummeting with less need to coordinate outdoor activities and tightened spending.

Leading computer companies are reporting happy upturns in PC use. One of the world’s largest PC manufacturers, Intel, saw huge amounts of growth – a 23 percent increase in overall revenue and growth in “PC-centric revenue” by 14 percent. “Consumers and businesses are relying on PCs for working and learning at home,” Intel’s most recent financial report said.

Another multinational PC manufacturer, AMD, reports “higher notebook sales” as factoring into its recent successes, with revenue for the first quarter up a whopping 73 percent on the year before.

Chromebooks look to be on the rise, too. While perhaps not strictly PCS, Chromebooks are low priced alternatives with skyrocketing use in educational settings for the many now homeschooled kids. Google CEO Sundar Pichai spoke in parent-company Alphabet’s quarter one report about the burgeoning demand for Chromebooks in March compared to the previous year.

Phone companies predicted this, with global electronics producer, Samsung, in its first quarter review, saying it foresees slowed demand in the coming months. Apple has avoided offering up predictions, citing the current global extremes.

Samsung, which also makes PC and server components, reports higher profits on the back of those businesses. In its first quarter announcement it notes the “rapid rise in remote working, online education and streaming services,” will push high demand for components like PC memory access. Global data storage company, Western Digital, too, reports “greater than expected demand” for notebook storage “due to the shift to working from home and e-learning.”

Clearly while we’re stuck indoors our smartphones aren’t quite as essential. The International Data Corporation also reports that uncertain economic conditions are causing us to tighten up our spending. Factories in China have been in shutdown and phone shipments had fallen 11.7 percent, while tablet shipments dropped by 18.2 percent.

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, has commented too, on the surging use of the corporate and consumer versions of its Office suite. “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months,” he said in a recent report.

Even though PCs may not be the newest or sexiest thing, for the time being at least, this is a growth market that shows little sign of waning.

Discover more:

Windows apps coming to Chromebooks

Wearables for social distancing – what will it look like, who will use them?

What next on the radar of micromobility for smarter cities of the future?


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Cat Mules

Umbrellar's Digital Journalist, coming from a background in tech reporting and research. Cat's inspired by the epic potential of tech and helping kiwi innovators share their success stories.


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PC is overtaking mobile. Smartphone companies saw it coming.

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