Global notebook shipments surge to 60 million units in 4Q20

Global notebook shipments, excluding detachable models, surged over 10% sequentially to hit a fresh high of 60 million units in fourth-quarter 2020, mainly driven by robust demand for remote work and study amid the worsening pandemic woes, year-end e-commerce promotion campaigns and government subsidies to consumers, according to Digitimes Research.

Shipments for the entire 2020 advanced over 25% on year to a 9-year high of 201 million units, Digitimes Research figures show.

As brand vendors continue to pull in shipments from ODMs to thicken their inventories supporting stay-at-home economy in the months ahead, worldwide notebook shipments are expected to fall by less than 10% in first-quarter 2021, a significant improvement from previous sequential falls of 15-25% for the same quarter.

Leading brand vendors are expected to post only slight sequential falls in first-quarter 2021 shipments, due partly to lower comparison basis of fourth-quarter 2020 amid significant components shortages. Top vendor HP may ramp up its shipments of Chromebooks in the quarter.

Lenovo may not be able to see the same shipment momentum as its peers in first-quarter 2021 as its channel distributors in the US and Europe registered higher inventory levels in the preceding quarter.

Dell, with commercial-use notebooks commanding over 60% of its shipments, may see shipments for first-quarter 2021 fall sequentially at a larger pace than HP, due to high comparison basis for fourth-quarter 2020, when both shipments to enterprise clients and those of Chromebooks increased significantly along with the resurging pandemic.

In terms of ODMs in Taiwan, Quanta Computer will continue to take the lead in first-quarter 2021 on stable shipments of Apple devices and last-batch orders for education-use Chromebooks from Japan. Compal Electronics is expected to sustain the same shipment ratio of 30% in the quarter as registered a quarter earlier.