Canalys: Apple holds No.2 spot in the U.S. PC market with 20.6% share

According to Canalys, the PC market in the U.S. grew 17% year-over-year in Q2 2021 with Apple retaining the No.2 spot in the U.S. PC market with 20.6% share. Total shipments of desktops, notebooks, tablets and workstations reached 36.8 million units.

MacBook Air with M1 is an absolute powerhouse of performance and thin-and-light portability.
Apple’s current 13-inch M1 MacBook Air is an absolute powerhouse of performance and thin-and-light portability.

Notebooks were the best performers, with shipments up 27% year on year, while desktops showed signs of recovery, increasing 23%. Tablet shipments were down 1%, as educators move away from them and the surge of consumer shipments due to the pandemic fades.

“It is clear now that pandemic-related use cases will extend well into the future,” said Brian Lynch, Research Analyst at Canalys, in a statement. “This points toward a significant refresh opportunity in the future – fantastic news for PC vendors and their channel and ecosystem partners. The commercial and education segments have exploded, triggering tremendous refresh potential. The US economy has bounced back well from its pandemic woes and small businesses are recovering, which will lead to a wave of purchasing from the segment.”

US total PC (including tablets) shipments (market share and annual growth) Canalys PC Market Pulse Q2 2021

For the second quarter in a row, HP led the US PC market, with over 8 million devices shipped. HP continued to dominate the Chromebook market too, with a 42% market share in the US. Apple remained second in the US PC market despite a 3% decline. It was the only major PC vendor to post negative growth. This can be attributed to iPad demand tailing off. Apple had more success with notebooks, with 24% year-on-year shipment growth, partly due to the success of the M1 chip. Dell saw comparatively modest growth, at 11%. Lenovo and Samsung continued to outperform other vendors, posting 25% and 51% growth respectively in PC sales-out. Lenovo performed well by investing in the surging US Chromebook market.

The tablet market has showed signs of slowing in 2021, posting a 1% decline this quarter from its spike earlier in the pandemic, in Q2 2020. The tablet market ballooned in 2020 as consumers were stuck at home, with families looking for extra screens for entertainment and communication. That surge has faded slightly and lacks the future refresh cycle strength that notebooks will see from purchases made early in the pandemic. iPads performed well in Q2 2020 as Apple kept up with component shortages better than its key competitors. Since then, other vendors have made up ground, leading to Apple shrinking while Amazon and Samsung have grown.

Canalys: Apple holds No.2 spot in the U.S. PC market with 20.6% share

The resurgence of COVID-19 concerns in the United States with the Delta variant has solidified the long-term strategy of many companies to support hybrid working models. Many workers prefer to remain at home, which will increase the dependency of US workers on their devices, bolstering commercial refresh opportunities.

Schools in the U.S. are expected to continue in-person education for the 2021/2022 school year. In-person education will not hinder the refresh opportunity in the U.S., according to Canalys. Educational trends point toward PCs being a vital part of the classroom. Blended learning, hybrid models and online courses will be a mainstay in the US. Education is now transitioning to a replacement market for PCs in the US, and the mass procurement seen in 2020 and 2021 is expected to begin its refresh cycle in 2023.

“The US PC industry is set for a bright future. Whether it be work, school or leisure at home, PCs are in users’ hands more than ever. The integration of devices into everyday life points toward a rosy future for the market,” said Lynch.

MacDailyNews Take: Kudos to Canalys for daring to count iPads as the personal computers they so clearly are!

Apple faces a tough compare with iPads, and these are unit sales estimates, as Apple doesn’t release unit sales figures, but the company obviously continues to dominate the tablet market with 45% market share.

20 Comments

    1. Nonsense. I use my two iPads most of the time for casual needs. And I use my Mac most of the time for “work” (including fun activity that involves creating something). It’s a good mix. There’s nothing “contrived” about the usability and convenience of an iPad. I’m writing this comment on an iPad. If I needed to write something longer, I’d use a Mac.

    2. As you say, Apple is deliberately hobbling iPads likely in order not to hurt MacBook market share. What other reason could there be when iPads are powerful enough to do everything a MacBook could do? Why keep iPadOS less capable than MacOS? Apple has never given a reason, I’m guessing.

    3. I agree. I find that using iPads away from my desk, either around the house or on the road and using a Mac on my desk works perfectly for me.

      The two operating systems work together very well and documents transfer between the two platforms perfectly. I used to use MacBooks a lot, but don’t expect to replace my current one.

      My needs might be different to some others, but I know what works for me and how to be productive without being encumbered by unnecessary hardware.

  1. Yes, the limitations of iPads to real work computers does indeed account for record sales and market share.

    The iPad replacing you Mac is Cook baloney. Only holds true if you need mostly internet access, social media, entertainment and word processing.

    Common sense returns and the numbers show it…

    1. Why so much iPad hate? It’s not like anyone is forcing you to use it. I have so many PROS using iPads as their primary computer already that its easy to see the future. Its a different kind of computer for people who, well, think differently. No joke intended. Some people take to the unconventional way the iPad works, causing you to unintentionally focus on your work more easily than others. I have a law office and a marketing/publicity firm that have gone all iPad. I’m working with an architecture first that is developing an “iPad first” workflow (as the productivity pundits call it.) Speaking of which, the iPad is the darling of the productivity people. Minimalists also adore the device. It’s only becoming more and more powerful, each iteration.

      1. No intentional hate for iPads, Theo. The fact as you pointed out and great to hear works for some professions and I alluded to that, but probably should have expanded further. While it is getting stronger every release I don’t see how a small iPad can ever pack enough firepower or multiple screen real estate for high-end professional tasks in many fields. Believe me, tried it and know first hand along with thousands of fellow professionals. You buy what you need to get the job done and to the folks that work on an iPad, all power to them…

      2. I need 3-4 windows visible at one time and quick reference access to files in several folders on my desktop to write my PhD dissertation in history. This is basic computing stuff that’s been doable for a few decades, but what you can do on a Mac (or any PC) is often inefficient on an iPad. I can’t imagine finishing my dissertation on my iPad Pro, it’d be 10x slower (and being forced to get a Microsoft subscription because a standalone Word isn’t available). This isn’t rocket science and mine is not a fringe use case, virtually all students have these needs.

        Apple has absolutely hobbled the iPad to juice sales, their business model depends on people spending discretionary income on “nice-to-have” devices that aren’t necessary, they’re just “nice”. Tech YouTubers (mostly Apple advertising whores) aren’t representative of reality, it’s just spin, and most of these iPad-only fakers are using Macs extensively off camera.

        1. You raise interesting points, Nick. Yes, I wonder if the iPad only crowd senses reality at times and certain tasks they can only accomplish on a Mac or PC.

          To lighter use professions like journalists and writers generally need word processing, internet access for research and a work connection to file their stories and certainly an iPad would fit the bill for most.

          However, high end 3D animation just to name ONE, an iPad is ill equipped like using a slingshot to kill an elephant…

    2. A computer not under personal control can never be a Personal Computer. It’s an Individual one at best.

      All the reality distortion in the universe can’t change that.

      1. Okay, then by your definition, a Chromebook is not a PC either.

        Either way, making this distinction is utterly beside the point when tabulating market share.

        You are ideologically possessed. Look it up. If you don’t want a locked down device, you don’t have to buy one. But there are many folks who will do much better without the ability to accidentally install malware on their machine. Live and let live…

        1. “Okay, then by your definition, a Chromebook is not a PC either.”

          Correct, and no one is trying to pass it as one.
          Words and concepts matter, except in marketing.

  2. It would be interesting to see rankings based on percent of total profits. My guess is Apple would be #1 by a large and growing margin as companies rely on cheap Chromebooks to boost sales.

  3. With the magical M1 chip Apple has the opportunity to double the current market share if not higher. Cozy up to IT Pros based on windows looking down their nose at Apple computers for decades; shed the Apple Tax moniker by lowering prices to compete more closely with similar equipped PCs; expand the upgrade capability and increase ports and all the goodies Pros and casual users alike deem important.

    “To the moon, Alice!” …

  4. Okay, then by your definition, a Chromebook is not a PC either.

    Either way, making this distinction is utterly beside the point when tabulating market share.

    You are ideologically possessed. Look it up. If you don’t want a locked down device, you don’t have to buy one. But there are many folks who will do much better without the ability to accidentally install malware on their machine. Live and let live…

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