The figures are sharply lower than those released by another tech analyst firm, Canalys, earlier this month, but the difference is due to the method used to measure shipments — Canalys uses sell-in figures while Gartner uses sell-through data — and the fact that Gartner did not include Chromebook shipments.
As Gartner noted, Chromebook shipments for the quarter grew by about 90% year-on-year.
Canalys figures said global shipments grew by 12.7% to reach 79.2 million units, adding that the rise, due to the coronavirus pandemic, was the highest seen in the last 10 years.
"While PC supply chain disruptions tied to the COVID-19 pandemic have been largely resolved, this quarter saw shortages of key components, such as panels, as a result of this high consumer demand.
“The business PC market had a more cautious dynamic this quarter. Businesses have continued to buy PCs for remote work, but the focus has shifted from urgent device procurement towards cost optimisation.
"However, enterprise spending remained strong where government funding for distance learning and remote work has fueled device purchases, such as in the U.S. and Japan.”
As far as brands were concerned, Lenovo kept its top position, shipping 18 million units for the first time, though desktop shipments dropped as was the case with other vendors.
In the US, there was growth of 11.4% year-on-year, the first time in a decade that there has been double-digit growth. Though mobile PC shipments increased by 29%, this was offset by the steep fall in desktop shipments.
“Mobile PC demand in the US market surged as the shift from desktop to mobile PCs became a common practice across public and private businesses, even with many companies partially bringing their workers back to the office,” said Kitagawa.
“PC demands in the US were also backed by the gradual economic recovery throughout the quarter, including a rebound in employment and an improved consumer confidence index.”
The market in Europe, the Middle East and Africa remained flat during the quarter, recording growth of 0.4% and shipping 19.5 million units.
Asia-Pacific shipments grew by 3.3% but quarter-on-quarter growth was 16.5%.