In a nutshell: Reports from market research giants IDC, Canalys, and Gartner show that the PC market was one of several industries to have benefitted from the pandemic, with sales increasing YoY in both the fourth quarter and in 2020 as a whole.

All three firms agree that the global PC market grew last year compared to 2019. Canalys reports 297 million shipments, with an annual growth of 11.9 percent; IDC places the figure at 302 million shipments, making a 13.1 percent increase; and Gartner believes it was 275 million shipments---just under five percent growth. All of which represent the market's highest increase in ten years.

The YoY differences are even more significant when looking at Q4 2020: IDC has 91.5 million shipments (+26.1 percent), Canalys claims 90.2 million (+25.4 percent), while Gartner is at 79.3 million (+10.7 percent).

The closure of businesses such as cinemas combined with lockdown restrictions and home working saw a sharp rise in demand for tech during 2020. Gaming, office hardware, TV sales, and streaming services experienced explosive growth throughout the last 12 months. Interestingly, Canalys notes that laptops made up most growth in the PC market for the year, while desktop shipments decreased.

When it comes to individual companies, all three research firms have the same top five. Lenovo took the number one spot, followed by HP, Dell, Apple, and Acer---Gartner also has a sixth spot occupied by Asus.

"Robust consumer PC demand again drove sales, particularly in regions where governments maintain stay-at-home orders as the COVID-19 pandemic persists. Prior to 2020, consumers had been shifting to a phone-first focus, yet the pandemic reversed this trend," said Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner.