Companies in this industry produce desktop personal computers (PCs) and portable PCs such as laptops, notebooks, and tablets. Major US companies include Apple, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard (HP); major companies based outside the US include Acer (Taiwan), Asus (Taiwan), and Lenovo (Hong Kong). Though PC companies in the US are commonly referred to as manufacturers, most PC manufacturing is conducted offshore.
Demand in the PC market is driven by technological advances, disposable income in the consumer market, and corporate spending cycles. The profitability of individual companies depends on supply chain efficiency and ancillary products and services. Large companies have advantages in leveraging extensive marketing budgets and sales channels, securing component discounts, and manufacturing efficiencies. Small companies can compete by offering unique products or localized service and support.
The majority of PCs fall into one of two basic design categories: desktops and laptops. Desktops have traditionally been the dominant platform for home and business use. Spurred by the proliferation of wireless networking, along with narrowing price and performance gaps, sales of laptops began to overtake desktop sales in the mid-2000s. Both desktop and laptop PCs come in a variety of shapes and sizes and may be customized for specific applications.