Global PC Shipments Plunge at Historic Rate in the First Quarter

Worldwide PC shipments in the first quarter fell by the largest historic rate in the seven years iSuppli Corp. has been tracking the market, as weaker-than-expected desktop sales dragged down the industry, according to iSuppli Corp.

PC shipments in the first quarter of 2009 amounted to 66.5 million units, an 8.1 percent decline from 72.3 million during the same period in 2008, and a 14.4 percent drop from 77.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2008.

  • “The worldwide recession sparked by the credit crisis slammed PC shipments for the second quarter in succession during the first three months of 2009,” said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for compute platforms research at iSuppli. “The first-quarter performance of the worldwide PC market was worse than iSuppli had expected in its prior forecast, which called for a 4 percent decline in shipments compared to the same period in 2008. After a long period of immunity to the global downturn, the economic crisis finally has begun to impact the PC market.”

The desktop segment was the major culprit for the PC decline, with first-quarter unit shipments dropping by 23 percent compared to the same period in 2008. In contrast, notebook shipments grew 10 percent compared to the first quarter of 2008.There were no changes in the rankings of the world’s Top-5 PC OEMs in the first quarter compared to the same period a year earlier.
Hewlett-Packard remained the No.-1 PC OEM for the 11th successive quarter, with its shipments remaining flat from a year earlier at 13 million units. The company held a market share of 19.7 percent.

Dell experienced an 18.7 percent drop in PC unit shipments, declining to 8.8 million in the first quarter, compared to 10.8 million during the same period in the 2008. The company’s market share declined to 13.2 percent, down from 14.9 percent in the first quarter of 2008.

“Dell’s performance in the first quarter was heavily influenced by its weak desktop shipments, which dragged down its overall market share,” Wilkins said.

The remainder of the Top-5 was rounded out by the Asian PC OEMs, Acer, Lenovo and Toshiba, which had market shares of 11.1, 6.7, and 5.2 percent, respectively.

Toshiba posted the strongest growth among the Top-5 on a percentage basis, with its shipments rising by 13.5 percent from a year earlier.iSuppli in the first quarter continued to observe strong netbook sales through network operator retail stores. The Top-5 PC OEMs cited sales through such outlets as driving demand for their netbook products. “The bundling of a low-cost portable computer and an Internet access package clearly has struck a chord with consumers,” Wilkins said. “The reduced upfront pricing of such packages provided by monthly contract plans also has been a strong factor propelling their success.” iSuppli predicts netbooks will account for 14 percent of worldwide notebook PC shipments in 2009, up from 9 percent last year.