In recent years, the demand for personal computers has been very low. Global PC shipments fell more than 16% last year, according to marketing firm Gartner. This is mainly due to the fact that many of us upgraded our computers at the start of the pandemic and consumers now have the hardware they need.
But on Monday, the Commerce Department said manufacturers ordered more computers and other electronic devices in January. In fact, these reserves have been growing throughout most of the pandemic. So what is driving all this demand?
It's not just about the desktop. They are also electronic components.
"Think farm equipment, for example," says Tim Feuer of the Institute of Supply Management. "Agricultural equipment works really well. And there's a lot of electronics in farm equipment."
There are many other growing industries that also need such equipment; “Production of components and signal processors for the automotive, aerospace and defense industries,” Fury said.
According to David Garfield of consulting firm AlixPartners, another reason some companies are investing in computers and other electronics is because they are trying to fill a labor shortage.
He says many companies are spending more on software automation and optimization. “All of this also requires investment in infrastructure and strong teams.”
As consumers buy fewer computers, companies tend to have faster replacement cycles, according to Andrew Hewitt, a senior analyst at Forrester.
“Even if the organizations come out in 2020 and completely modernize their fleet, they are now at a stage where they are going to start modernizing some of them,” he said.
Especially since many people have started using their computers more for work during the pandemic, Hewitt added.
“Especially if people work eight, nine or 10 hours a day from home, they put a lot of stress on the computer,” he said. "It actually prompted a lot of the decision makers I spoke to to upgrade faster because the hardware hasn't lasted that long."
Computer hardware supply chains are also improving, Hewitt said, so imports are growing faster.
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