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Thursday, October 15, 2009
Gartner Says Worldwide PC Shipments Returned to Growth in Third Quarter of 2009

The PC industry performed better than expected as worldwide PC shipments totaled 80.9 million units in the third quarter of 2009, a 0.5 percent increase from the third quarter of 2008, according to preliminary results by Gartner.

"These are good results especially given that PC shipments for the third quarter of 2009 are being compared to a very strong third quarter from 2008," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "Sequentially, third quarter shipments grew 18 percent, which is higher than the historical seasonal growth from the second to third quarter."

"The consumer market continued to lead unit shipment growth, driven by low priced mobile PCs," Ms. Kitagawa said. "Ongoing price declines continue to be a major issue in the PC industry. PC vendor performance cannot be determined solely by unit market share gains alone as related revenues and margin performance are key to surviving in very competitive market."

Hewlett-Packard continued to lead the worldwide PC market as its shipment growth exceeded the worldwide average (see Table 1). HP did well in Asia/Pacific, particularly in China. In the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, HP?s shipments declined, but it was less of a drop compared to the EMEA average.

Gartner analysts said the launch of Microsoft?s latest operating system (OS), Windows 7, should have a minimal impact on PC unit growth. But inventory adjustments around the launch could artificially affect shipment volumes during the third and fourth quarters of 2009.

"Recent OS releases have not been a growth driver in the PC market, however the timing of Windows 7?s is favorable for the industry due to expected economic improvements and an overdue hardware replacement cycle," Ms. Kitagawa said. "We anticipate renewed interest in hardware upgrades from consumers and small business during the holiday season as a result Windows 7?s release. In the corporate market, Windows 7 adoption is not expected to ramp up until late 2010."

After three consecutive quarters of year-on-year shipment declines, PC shipments in the U.S. totaled 17.8 million units in the third quarter of 2009, a 3.9 percent increase from the third quarter of last year (see Table 2).

"The consumer mobile PC market drove U.S. shipment growth in the third quarter of 2009, fueled by back to school sales," Ms. Kitagawa said. "However, the results came with a revenue loss because of very steep declines in average selling prices (ASPs). Consumers were comfortable buying PCs, but they were relentlessly looking for bargains. Our preliminary research shows consumer mobile PC ASPs declined more than 20 percent compared to a year ago."

Dell maintained its No. 1 position in PC shipments in the U.S., however its shipments declined 8.9 percent in the quarter. Gartner analysts said this could be attributed to Dell emphasizing profit protection rather than market share expansion.

The EMEA PC market had a double-digit decline for the third quarter of 2009. PC shipments in EMEA totaled 26 million units, a 10.1 percent decrease from the same period in 2008. Central Eastern Europe was the weakest area, followed by Western Europe and then Middle East and Africa. The professional market continued to be weak in both the desk-based and mobile PC segments. The mobile consumer market kept the Western Europe market buoyed and again mini-notebook share increased as most of the vendors drove higher volumes.

PC shipments in Asia/Pacific registered 25.2 million units in the third quarter of 2009, a 16.1 percent increase from the third quarter of 2008. This strong rebound was primarily attributed to the surge in PC shipments in China and emerging markets in South East Asia that registered strong double-digit growth rates. The PC market in China is estimated to have grown 28.5 percent in the third quarter of 2009.

In Latin America, PC shipments totaled 6.9 million units in the third quarter of 2009, a decline of 3.9 percent, from the same period last year. This is the last quarter of expected contraction. Fourth quarter unit shipments this year are expected to grow at 29.6 percent. Much of this has to do with the fact that PC shipments in the fourth quarter last year were so low. However, the generally improving economic scenario in Latin America and the likely strong fourth quarter holiday sales season should also drive growth.

PC shipments in Japan totaled 3.2 million units in the third quarter of 2009, a 15.1 percent decline. Both the professional and consumer markets were weak. The consumer market declined 13.8 percent in the quarter, after nine consecutive quarters of year-on-year growth.

Additional research can be found on Gartner's Computing Hardware section on Gartner's Web site at

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