Worldwide PC shipments totaled 67.2 million units in the first quarter of 2009, a 6.5% decline versus 1Q 2008, according to research firm Gartner, Inc.
"We are seeing some evidence of channel inventory restocking, particularly in the U.S.," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner. "This restocking should not be interpreted as a recovery in PC end-user demand; it's still unclear if the global PC market has hit the bottom."
Hewlett-Packard extended its lead in the worldwide PC market, accounting for 19.8 percent of global shipments in first quarter 2009. HP registered higher growth rates than the regional averages in the United States, Asia/Pacific, and Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).
Dell and Acer finished the quarter in a tie for the No. 2 position in the worldwide PC market; they are separated by just 0.1% points. Gartner said that Dell was generally weighted down by its heavy reliance on the professional market, while Acer experienced a significant shipment increase fueled by low priced mobile PCs in EMEA and the U.S.
"Low priced mobile PCs continued to be the growth driver for the PC industry in most regions," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "However, we anticipate a sharp decline in industry revenues due to the lower average selling prices (ASPs) of these devices."
PC shipments in the U.S. totaled 15.3 million units in 1Q 2009, a 0.3% decline versus 1Q 2008. Shipments were stronger than expected thanks to strong growth in low-priced mobile PCs.
"Low priced mobile PCs led market growth in the U.S. Mini notebooks did well in the challenging economic environment where consumers' number one priority was to save money," said Ms. Kitagawa. "Mini notebooks continued to put pressure on low priced mobile PCs. This pressure was mainly felt in the consumer market, but it expanded into select professional markets as well, including the education segment. U.S. mobile PC ASP likely will decline as much as 20 percent year-over-year in first quarter 2009. Overall, end user spending on PCs is likely to have contracted in the upper teens in first quarter 2009 compared to a year ago."
HP was the No. 1 vendor in the U.S., accounting for 21% of PC shipments in first quarter 2009. HP took top position in the U.S. market for the first time since 2001. Dell dropped into the No. 2 position in the overall U.S. market.
The EMEA PC market experienced a double-digit decline in growth for the first time. PC shipments in EMEA totaled 22.7 million units, a 10.2% decline from the same period last year. Gartner said that the slowdown impacted all parts of the market with the professional segment declining more sharply than the consumer market.
PC shipments in Asia/Pacific registered 18.2 million units in 1Q 2009, a 5.5% decline from 1Q 2008. The professional segment was strongly affected by the economic slowdown in the region. Gartner said that the home market was less affected because vendors were aggressive in stimulating demand by adjusting prices downward, bundling promotions, and conducting road shows targeting the market.
In Latin America, PC shipments totaled 5.5 million units in 1Q 2009, a 12.4% decline from the same period last year. Inventory levels remain higher than desired for vendors in most countries. Gartner said that PC vendor inventory orders often take 60 days to arrive and few, if any, vendors anticipated such a bad fourth quarter.
PC shipments in Japan surpassed 3.6 million units in 1Q 2009, a 3.8% decline. In the professional market, PC shipment declined 18%, Gartner said, as enterprises delayed replacements by stretching PC lifetimes, and small and midsize businesses were constrained by the credit crunch. The home market is likely to have grown 17% in the first quarter, driven by strong growth in mini-notebooks and low-end mainstream notebooks.
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