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PC sales post record drop in Q4 08

Posted: 20 Jan 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:PC global sale? market report? PC revenue?

Worldwide shipments of PCs fellmarginally increased in 08, according to two market research groups.

IDC suggests shipments fell 0.4 percent in the quarter from the same period a year ago to 77.3 million units and 2.5 percent from Q3. The fall was the first one seen for six years.

The main reason seen for the poor performance was the weakening economic environment, which included falling home and stock prices and the increasing difficulty of obtaining credit from banks.

Meanwhile Gartner Inc. suggested the global PC industry suffered its worst growth rate since 2002 as worldwide shipments totaled 78.1 million units, a 1.1 percent increase from Q4 07, according to preliminary results.

However, the Gartner researchers added PC revenues experienced a record decline. Steep average selling price declines, as well as robust growth of low-priced systems, including mini-notebooks, contributed to this drop.

Hewlett-Packard managed to grow above the worldwide average in Q4 08, said Gartner, but its y-on-y growth was its lowest since its merger with Compaq in 2003. HP did well in EMEA by aggressively promoting the mini-notebook segment, but it was impacted by sales in the U.S. market. Overall, the company had a 19.1 percent share of the market during Q408.

The slots below HP were taken by Dell Inc. (13.2 percent); Acer (12.3 percent); Lenovo (7.1 percent) Toshiba (4.7 percent); and the others category representing 43.6 percent of shipments.

Bright spot
For 2008 as a whole, Gartner's preliminary figures suggest global PC sales held up reasonably well, with 2302.2 million units shipped, 10.9 percent up on the previous year. The top five vendors are the same as for the last quarter of 2008, and remain unchanged from 2007.

IDC also has the same suppliers in the top five for the year. It suggests growth in laptop shipments was cut roughly in half to about 20 percent in the first three quarters of 2008. The desktop market was also hit hard, falling about 16 percent in the quarter from a year ago after only a small decline earlier in the year.

However, there were some bright spots in IDC's findings.

Shipments of mini-laptops, or netbooks, reached 5 million units in Q4, bringing the total for 2008 to about 10 million units, which accounted for 7 percent of overall mobile PC shipments.

IDC concurs that for the whole year, and despite the dramatic downturn in the last quarter of 2008, PC shipments increased by about 10 percent, in its view by 10.5 percent over 2007 to 297.2 million units. That number was on par with 2006, when vendors struggled with the transition from desktops to portables.

In addition, IDC suggests that of the top five vendors worldwide, Dell saw the biggest year-to-year decline in shipments in Q4 at 6.3 percent, with Lenovo second with a drop of 4.8 percent.

HP saw a 3.1 percent increase, but the biggest winners were third-placed Acer and No. 5 Toshiba, which increased shipments by 25.3 percent and 20.2 percent respectively. Both benefited from significant increases in sales of portable PCs.

- John Walko
EE Times Europe

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