iSuppli: Global PC sales historic nosedive in Q1

Haviest anchor is desktop sales, down 23 percent year-over-over, most likely due to companies not buying many new computers for their workers.
Written by Jason Hiner, Editor in Chief

The global PC market took one of its largest sales plunges ever in Q1 2009, according to iSuppli.

Total units shipped fell 8.1 percent year-over-over and were down 14.1 percent from Q4 2008, the largest dips in the seven years that iSuppli has been tracking PC shipments.

The heaviest anchor in the market was desktop sales, down 23 percent year-over-over, and that is most likely tied to corporate buyers. Businesses and IT departments are simply not buying many new computers for their workers. They are stretching out the life of existing machines, and some are likely using extra machines from laid off workers to replace any malfunctioning PCs rather buying new systems.

Matthew Wilkins, iSuppli analyst, said: "The worldwide recession sparked by the credit crisis slammed PC shipments for the second quarter in succession during the first three months of 2009. 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."

Here are some notable quotes from the iSuppli report:

  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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," said Wilkins.)
  • 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.
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