Computer Workstation Shipments Take Off

Shipments of workstations reach an all-time high in 3rd quarter of 2021 - COVID and cloud notwithstanding.

Chasing Pixels – by Jon Peddie

Workstation shipments breaks record (Picture courtesy of JPR)

Workstation shipments break record. (Picture courtesy of JPR)

Before the pandemic hit, the workstation market was humming along, just as it did for the previous 30 years. During that period, we saw a slow but steady shift from desktop and deskside workstations all the way to mobile workstations with glorious 4K 17-inch screens. We’ve also seen cloud-based workstations that allow users to remotely log in and work on just about any client—even Chromebooks.

HP’s family of workstations. (Image source: HP.)

HP’s family of workstations. (Image source: HP)

The workstation market’s record levels—just set in Q1 2021, then reset in Q2—were shattered in Q3 when workstation shipments shot up 76 percent and, for the first time ever, moved past the 2 million unit level. Shipments in Q3 2021 grew 28 percent over the same quarter last year, but bear in mind that last year included the low point in the pandemic-fueled market downturn.

The bullish top-line numbers from the last quarter reveal the breadth and strength of the workstation market. Mobile workstations have become the preferred form factor for professionals who must manage the instability of their working environments. We expect that the eventual return to the office and normalcy will spur the relatively stagnant deskside workstation market as demand for overdue workstations and their replacements kicks in.

Interior view of a Dell Precision rack-mounted workstation. (Image source: Dell)

Interior view of a Dell Precision rack-mounted workstation. (Image source: Dell)

A return to offices is underway, albeit at varying paces and with starts and stops—the latest due to a COVID surge caused by the Delta variant.

“Both fixed and mobile workstations were up dramatically in the last quarter,” confirmed Alex Herrera, senior analyst at JPR.

Other findings from JPR:

  • Breakdown of the traditional workstation market by units, revenue, platforms, key components, verticals, geography and vendors
  • Workstation market forecast
  • Breakdown of the workstation GPU market by units and revenue across product classes (including integrated graphics) and vendors

About Jon Peddie, JPR and the Workstation Report Market Report

Jon Peddie is president of John Peddie Research (JPR). He was a pioneer in the graphics industry and is a widely recognized authority on the subject of computer hardware and graphics. Peddie has been an ACM distinguished speaker and is an IEEE Distinguished visitor. He has presented at numerous conferences and lectured at universities on topics about graphics technology and emerging trends in digital media technology. A former president of SIGGRAPH, he serves on the advisory boards of several conferences, organizations and companies. In 2015, Peddie received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the CAD Society. He has published hundreds of papers to date and has authored and contributed to 11 books, His most recent books are Augmented Reality: Where We All Will Live and Ray Tracing: A Tool for All.

JPR has been monitoring and reporting on the workstation market since the
early 1990s when workstations were all custom built and used proprietary