The company said growth had been weak in the first quarter, but recovered to some extent in the second, and this positive trend continued into the next three months.
Global shipments of notebooks reached 64 million units for the period — close to the record high of 2011 when they touched 64.6 million units — as the demand grew due to a second wave of COVID-19 meant continued investment in working from home.
This was evident from the fact that shipments of notebooks and mobile workstations grew by 28.3% year-on-year, while shipments of desktops desktop workstations shrank by 26.0%.
“Vendors, the supply chain, and the channel have now had time to find their feet and allocate resources towards supplying notebooks, which continue to see massive demand from both businesses and consumers,” said analyst Ishan Dutt.
“After prioritising high-value markets and large customers in Q2, vendors have now been able to turn their attention to supplying a wider range of countries, as well as SMBs that faced difficulty securing devices earlier this year.
"Governments, which have realised the importance of PC access in maintaining economic activity during this time, have intervened with financial support or even full-scale device deployments. This has been especially critical in the education space, with school terms commencing in Q3 without the possibility of on-premises learning in many markets.
"For example, the UK Government made 100,000 notebooks available to ensure students, unable to return to classrooms, face minimum disruption in their ability to receive an education. Canalys expects IT expenditure, including investment in PCs, to be a core driver of economic recoveries in the aftermath of the pandemic.”
Canalys research director Rushabh Doshi said: “The lasting effects of this pandemic on the way people work, learn and collaborate will create significant opportunities for PC vendors in the coming years.
“As the line between work and home lives is increasingly blurred, it becomes important to position devices towards a wide array of use cases, with a focus on mobility, connectivity, battery life, and display and audio quality.
"Differentiation in product portfolios, to capture key segments such as education and mainstream gaming, will also provide pockets of growth. And beyond the PC itself, there will be an increased need for collaboration accessories, new services, subscription packages and a strong focus on endpoint security.
"These trends will most benefit vendors who provide holistic solutions that enable their customers to make structural changes to their operations. Although the focus has been on commercial PC demand in the last two quarters, consumer spending during the holiday season is set to bring more joy to the PC market.”