Demand for PCs in the second quarter continues to be high amid chip shortages, which constrains manufacturers' ability to fulfill orders. A new report from Taiwan indicates that some vendors are projected to see shipments fall short of orders by 30% to 50% in Q2 2021.
According to an IDC report, sales of PCs increased by over 55% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2021. Large PC makers have increased their unit sales by well over 50% (with Apple's shipments increasing by 111.5% YoY). In contrast, smaller makers enjoyed 'only' 50% growth, which is explainable as it is easier for large PC makers to procure components that are in short supply due to their volume of scale and buying power.
But apparently, demand for PCs is so high that some notebook makers expect their shipments to fall short of orders by 30% to 50% in the second quarter, according to DigiTimes. Manufacturers naturally prioritize higher-end models, so supplies of inexpensive machines, such as entry-level Chromebooks for education customers, will remain constrained in the second quarter. Meanwhile, 43.8% of Japan's GIGA School project shipments were Chrome OS-based, followed by Apple MacOS and Microsoft Windows-powered machines.
Taiwanese PC makers now expect supply constraints to persist in the second half of the year as the PC industry has to compete against cars and smartphone producers that also need chips and other components, which will naturally increase the prices of computers.
Interestingly, to secure the supply of hard-to-find components, some vendors even acquire stakes in their suppliers. For example, Acer Group recently invested $53 million in display driver IC supplier FocalTech Systems and now holds a 3.58% stake in the company.