Pandemic Drove Sales of 4G and 5G-Enabled PCs to New Record In 2020

Lenovo outstrips other OEMs, dominates global PC shipments

Pandemic Drove Sales of 4G and 5G-Enabled PCs to New Record In 2020

Global sales of cellular-enabled mobile PCs reached more than 10 million units for the first time in 2020 as homeworkers sought improved connectivity in response to the closure of office facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the latest analysis from Strategy Analytics’ Connected Computing Devices program, global shipments increased by 70% to 10.1 million, the highest ever annual total. North America accounted for nearly half of 3G-, 4G- and 5G-enabled PC shipments, while Europe and Asia-Pacific accounted for 45%.

Pandemic Drove Sales of 4G and 5G-Enabled PCs to New Record In 2020 brandspurng
Figure 1. Global Cellular-Enabled Notebook PC Shipments (millions)

The report, Notebook PC Cellular Connectivity Shipment and Installed Base Forecast estimate that more than 26 million cellular-enabled PCs are now in use worldwide, an increase of 25% in twelve months.

While 4G/LTE standards dominated the market in 2020, accounting for 97% of cellular-enabled PC shipments, 5G notebook launches in 2021 are showing a greater diversity in price points, form factors, and vendor participation, and Strategy Analytics expects 5G to build its share towards 69% by 2025.

The report indicates that this growth will depend on improvements in customer education by vendors, carriers and retailers.

“What form new pricing plans take in the 5G world must be informed by a holistic view of the consumer, which devices they use where, and what they use them for,” says Chirag Upadhyay, Industry Analyst. “In the enterprise space, vendors, carriers and resellers must be able to explain how connected notebooks help save companies money in the field and help reduce security breaches compared to mobile hotspots or dongles.”

Eric Smith, Director, Connected Computing Devices, added:

“We see this is a ‘when’ problem, not an ‘if’ problem. Cellular connected notebooks will become more commonplace over the next decade but the key to when that happens lies in how industry players introduce the idea to consumers. A clear view of how users choose cellular plans is crucial for vendors, carriers, and even retailers to understand how to better educate consumer segments of more cellular-embedded options.”