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Pandemic Giving PC Demand a Boost: 4 Stocks to Watch

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PC sales that include laptops and tablets have been growing at a record pace, thanks to the pandemic that has completely changed the way people have worked so long. The work-and-learn-from-home culture has been breathing life into the declining demand for PC sales.

Smartphones have been biting into PC sales for quite some time but things changed during the pandemic. High demand for bigger devices saw global shipments of PC once again increasing, with manufacturers still months away from fulfilling orders.

PC Sales on the Rise

The past few months saw demand for personal computers and video collaboration products gaining traction as schools and offices were shut to prevent the spread of coronavirus and millions worked, learnt and played from home.

This helps personal computers regain their popularity, which was overshadowed by smartphones. According to a Reuters report, PCs, which include desktops, laptops and tablets, reached their peak with more than 300 million shipments in 2008.

Since then, the numbers had drastically declined but 2020 saw a resurgence with the pandemic. Although the final figures are yet to come in, experts say the numbers will once again hit 300 million in 2020, increasing around 15% from last year.

This does not look impossible given that the third quarter was already an impressive one. According to research company Canalys, the overall PC market, which includes tablets, grew 23% year over year in the third quarter. A total of 124.5 million units of PC were shipped during this period. All-in-one desktop sales grew 7%.

PC Sales Poised to Grow

Not too many had expected the PC market to rebound but the pandemic played a major role in giving a boost to the sales of PCs. And the demand is likely to continue given the present situation wherein coronavirus cases are still on the rise.

According to the report, installed PCs and tablets will reach 1.77 billion by 2021 end, up from 1.64 billion in 2019, predicts Canalys. Tablets too have seen huge demand during the pandemic and the market is likely to grow in 2021. Shipments of tablets jumped 43% year over year to 44.3 million units in the third quarter.

Stocks to Watch

The at-home culture is here to stay for a longer time than expected with no signs of the pandemic easing. Demand for PCs, laptops, tablets and other peripherals will only grow in such a situation, helping these four stocks to gain.

Dell Technologies Inc. (DELL - Free Report) is a provider of information technology solutions. The company's operating segment consists of Client Solutions, Enterprise Solutions Group and Dell Software Group. The Client Solutions segment includes sales to commercial and consumer customers of desktops, thin client products, notebooks as well as services and third-party software and peripherals of Client Solutions hardware. 

The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 1.6%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 19.5% over the past 60 days. Dell has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

HP Inc. (HPQ - Free Report) company is a leading global provider of personal computing and other access devices, imaging and printing products, and related technologies, solutions and services to individual consumers, SMBs and large enterprises, including customers in the government, health and education sectors.

The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 17.1%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 16.6% over the past 60 days. HP has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL - Free Report) has evolved from primarily being a search-engine provider to cloud computing, ad-based video and music streaming, autonomous vehicles, healthcare providers and making Chromebook. Notably, Chromebook shipments hit a record high of 9.4 million units in the third quarter, reflecting 122% year-over-year growth.

The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 5.6%. Its shares have gained 17.7% in the past three months. Alphabet carries a Zacks Rank #2.

Lenovo Group Ltd. (LNVGY - Free Report) is dedicated to building PCs and mobile Internet devices. Lenovo's business is built on product innovation, a highly efficient global supply chain and strong strategic execution.

The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 66.1%. Its shares have gained 42.4% in the past three months. Lenovo has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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