Mac shipments grew at twice the pace of PCs in 2021

An Apple Macbook on a table
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mac shipments grew at double the pace of overall PCs in 2021, according to figures from market research company Canalys.

In its PC analysis released today, the company charted a 28.3% growth in Mac shipments to 28.96 million units. General PC shipments, spanning desktops, grew at 14.6% in 2021 to reach just over 341 million worldwide.

The PC market overall was healthy, having shipped 90 million units in Q4 for the second consecutive year. Shipments for the year outpaced 2019 by 27%, and represented the highest annual total since 2012.

Notebooks and mobile workstations performed best, growing 16% in 2021 to 275 million units. Desktops still grew at a healthy 7% to reach 66 million units.

Apple's success is linked to a major upgrade across its Mac line after switching from Intel silicon to its home-grown ARM-based M-series architecture. The company has already released more advanced versions of its M1 chip and is expected to release the M2 chip this year.

Acer saw the next highest growth after Apple in 2021, at 21.8%, followed by Dell, which grew shipments 18%.


How virtual desktop infrastructure enables digital transformation

Challenges and benefits of VDI


However, Lenovo topped the charts in absolute shipments, with a 24.1% market share representing 82.1 million units. HP followed in second place with a 21.7% market share, followed by Dell (17.4%). Apple had the fourth largest market share at 8.5% of the shipments, in spite of its impressive growth.

Canalys praised the industry for solid growth even as supply chain constraints continue to bite. The company noted increased penetration rates for PCs during the year, including young students and older family members. More people now own two PCs, it added.

The successes were not spread evenly across geographic regions, though. The US saw shipments fall for a second consecutive quarter in Q4, Canalys said, due to a strong fourth quarter for Chromebooks in 2020. EMEA and APAC were the bright spots, each growing shipments by double digits over last year.

Danny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury has been a print journalist specialising in technology since 1989 and a freelance writer since 1994. He has written for national publications on both sides of the Atlantic and has won awards for his investigative cybersecurity journalism work and his arts and culture writing. 

Danny writes about many different technology issues for audiences ranging from consumers through to software developers and CIOs. He also ghostwrites articles for many C-suite business executives in the technology sector and has worked as a presenter for multiple webinars and podcasts.