PCs were suddenly hot in 2020. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people to work and learn at home, sales of desktop, notebook, and workstation computers soared over 13% last year, with fourth-quarter sales rocketing 26%.

International Data Corporation (IDC) said on Monday that the last time computers saw such double-digit gains was over a decade ago when the PC market jumped 13.7% in 2010. Since then, it has been a long, downward slog that included six years of declines and one year of flat growth.

Girl with an open laptop

Image source: Getty Images.

The coronavirus outbreak changed everything last year as businesses were shut down and schools were closed. As the pandemic progressed, many companies chose to further extend their work-from-home option for employees, with some even considering making it a permanent alternative.

IDC reported that fourth-quarter computer sales got a lift from increased consumer demand as restrictions on mobility were lifted. Although manufacturers suffered from capacity shortages due to restrictions, as well as upheavals in the supply chain, the massive uptick in demand helped many to persevere.

Ryan Reith of IDC said, "In retrospect, the pandemic not only fueled PC market demand but also created opportunities that resulted in a market expansion."

IDC said Lenovo Group (OTC:LNVGY) was the top PC manufacturer with a 25.2% share as fourth-quarter shipments jumped 29% from 2019. It was followed by HP (NYSE:HPQ), Dell Technologies (NYSE:DELL), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Acer.

Apple and Acer had the largest shipment increases for the period, rising 49% and 48%, respectively. But they badly trailed the market leader with just an 8% and 7.2% share, respectively.

Full-year standings with the tech companies were largely unchanged, with Lenovo and HP battling for the top spot in market share.

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