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Monitor Sales Boomed in 2021, but 2022 May Reverse That Trend

Monitor trends 2021 to 2026
(Image credit: Gigabyte)

A market research report says that 2021 was the best year for PC monitor shipments in recent history. Jon Peddie Research and IDC report that 143.6 million PC monitors were shipped last year. Flipping through the calendar, you would have to go all the way back to 2012 to see a higher figure. 2021 initially saw robust demand for monitors, but things turned for the worse as we entered the backstretch of the year.

Monitor shipments for 2021 overall beat expectations with 5.0% growth YoY. Things could have been much better in 2021 for monitor makers, as the first half saw growth of 19.4%, but a challenging second half of the year interrupted industry exuberance. The change of mood was especially noticeable on the consumer side of things. In Q4 2021, shipments were actually down 5.2% YoY.

So, what happened to the monitor market as we hit H2 2021 to disrupt the uptrend? First of all, it is important to note that 2021 started well and marked the pinnacle of shipment numbers in an uninterrupted period of growth starting in 2018. Yes, that period of growth roughly correlates to the major lockdowns and WFH movement during the pandemic. Pandemic lockdowns and other virus mitigation measures were shunned in many countries as we ended 2021.

Interestingly, analysts at IDC also reckon that the 2018 to 2021 monitor growth period was bolstered by the adoption of Windows 10 by businesses. However, it might be closer to 2025 before we see a repeat of this phenomenon off the back of Windows 11. Last but not least, market researchers reckon that market saturation began to cause a slowdown in monitor buying halfway through 2021. No particular mention was made of gaming monitors in this research.

The change felt in Q4 2021 was notably bad. Again we see pandemic effects; however, it is on the other side of the supply/demand equation. It is thought that China particularly, as it maintained its pursuit of zero-Covid, has continued strengthening lockdowns as Covid variants became more transmissible. This not only hampered production but freight/shipping. As a result, only two companies saw growth in Q4 2021: Dell and Lenovo.

2022 isn't looking good for the monitor industry as far as shipments are concerned. IDC's figures extrapolate a 3.6% YoY decline in shipments for the whole year. That indicates a continuation of the negative saturation trends will continue to weigh down the market. These have been joined by effects of inflation and reduced disposable income due to the energy crisis related to the Ukraine – Russia war.

(Image credit: IDC, JPR)

Looking even further ahead, market researchers expect the 2023 to 2026 period will see shipments flatline. It will be interesting to see what trend or a phenomenon causes the next growth spurt for the monitor industry. Might it be OLED or Micro LED technology, new form factors like rollable or foldable monitors, new larger or higher resolution monitors, or the ready availability of powerful GPUs to handle fast 3D on >4K monitors?

Mark Tyson
Mark Tyson

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • spentshells
    You can't mine on a monitor..... and with gpu prices going down finally this feels like a genuine article.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    An extra monitor was the result of the last 2 years of WFH.
    Reply
  • escksu
    This is expected. IT was booming during covid due to work from home. So there was a massive surge for laptops, monitors and even usb webcam etc.

    But we are coming to end of covid (as in becoming endemic). So there isnt really a need to wfh anymore. Most pple who need these items have already bought them as well.

    2022 and 2023 is going to be a quiet year for IT. Coupled with likelyhood of recession, it may be quiet even into 2024/25.
    Reply
  • Krotow
    Monitor boom as expected due to pandemic and massive demand for computers to work at home. Now offices reopened and remaining home workers already have their monitors.

    Also due to unstable geopolitical situation and inflation now people are more concerned about survival and not about purchasing tech which can wait for better times.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    PC/laptop sales make a massive rebound due to covid-19 and then get back to the 10+ years old trend of falling sales once the covid rush dies down. It shouldn't surprise anyone that monitor sales roughly follow the same path as it should be mostly the same people who needed a new PC for WfH or school to also needed a new monitor or two to go with their new PC or laptop.
    Reply
  • watzupken
    Anything that goes up, will eventually have to come down. COVID bumped up the sales of IT hardware significantly over the years to facilitate working/studying from home. But that means that people who needed laptops/ computers and monitors would have already gotten them. So it makes no sense to continue the buying spree. Also, people are heading back to office and school. So may even be selling some of these extras. I’ve recently sold off a monitor acquired during COVID days as we are heading back to office. So I suspect we may see more monitors, tablets and laptops on sale on ebay.
    Reply