Computers in a retail setting.

Second quarter PC shipments this year rose 2.8% compared with the second quarter of 2019. | joyfull/Shutterstock

PC shipments were up almost 3% during the second quarter of the year compared with 2019. Analysis firm Gartner says the growth was driven by stores beginning to rebound from the first-quarter COVID-19 disruptions, as well as a significant increase in laptop sales.

Gartner on July 9 reported second-quarter PC shipments hit 64.8 million units, an increase of 2.8% compared with the second quarter of 2019.

“After a significant decline in the first quarter of the year due to COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions, the PC market returned to growth as vendors restocked their channels and mobile PC demand increased,” Gartner wrote.

The increase was particularly visible in the U.S., where COVID-19 spurred stay-at-home orders across the country. The closure of the business sector led to a sudden increase in office employees working at home, and this correlated with a spike in purchases of mobile PCs, a category that includes laptop computers and some tablets.

Meanwhile, desktop computer sales plummeted by 44%, but the mobile PC increase was enough to raise the overall U.S. PC market by 3.5% year over year.

The trend mirrors the recent spike in used device sales, which were also driven by the stay-at-home orders.

Mobile PC demand remained strong even as states began reopening during the second quarter, according to Gartner, likely because businesses were preparing for a second wave of COVID-19.

Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner, cautioned that “this uptick in mobile PC demand will not continue beyond 2020, as shipments were mainly boosted by short-term business needs due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Beyond the working-from-home phenomenon, some of the global sales growth was driven by “distributors and retail channels restocking their supplies back to near-normal levels,” Kitagawa wrote.

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