PC industry’s dramatic return to 24pc growth in Q1

15 Apr 2010

The global PC market grew 24.2pc in the first quarter of this year – a vast improvement on the same period last year when the industry recorded its lowest growth of just 7pc.

According to IDC’s Quarterly PC Tracker, both desktop and portable PC shipments exceeded expectations, with solid growth rates driven by sustained consumer demand and renewed commercial buying.

Quarterly declines reversed

The year-over-year gain in desktop PCs reverses a series of quarterly declines that began in the third quarter of 2008. IDC attributes the renewed growth to continued recovery in emerging markets, improved business sentiments, and growth of specialised designs like All-in-One PCs.

“The strong first quarter builds on the fourth-quarter rebound and shows rising confidence in the PC supply chain and commercial client base along with persistent demand from consumers,” said Loren Loverde, vice-president, IDC Worldwide Trackers.

“The commercial gains are a cornerstone of market rebound that we’ve been expecting and are now seeing in the data. Despite continued strengthening of commercial demand and solid consumer and emerging market results, year-on-year growth is likely to slow in coming quarters as year-ago comparisons get more difficult.

“This is part of an expected recovery trend that should include strong second-quarter performance and lift growth for the year to 15pc or higher.”

“The US PC market exhibited encouraging signs of recovery in the first quarter. While part of this growth is a correction from a dismal 1Q09, some of it was driven by new PC refresh projects in the commercial markets,” explained Andrew Hanson, research analyst with IDC.

“This is in addition to ongoing consumer appetite for more mobile devices as price points remain attractive and the multi-device per user environment expands.

“Going forward, we expect tremendous activity from the supply side around product innovation and new form factors and designs, which are likely to drive interest among consumers. As such, we remain optimistic about PC growth this year and next, but caution that sustainable growth in the PC space will also require sustained economic growth,” Hanson added.

How vendors fared over past year

In terms of vendors, HP benefited from a solid performance in the channel. The vendor grew nearly 20pc over the past year. Its focus in emerging markets paid off especially strong in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) and Latin America, while it also saw a rebound in EMEA as US growth stabilised after a huge fourth quarter.

Acer continued to capitalise on the demand for its value-oriented product line and channel reach to make marked gains across both mature and emerging regions. Growth of more than 42pc was boosted by improved sequential performance and easy year-ago comparisons in the US and EMEA.

Dell also saw gains in emerging regions and rebounded in EMEA, with growth boosted by slow sales a year ago. Dell grew just over 21pc year-over-year, in part from improving business demand.

Lenovo saw the greatest improvement among the top vendors. The company continued to capitalise on its advantage in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) and emerging markets. The renewed focus after restructuring, channel expansion and commercial sales accelerated growth from an already strong fourth quarter to more than 58pc year-on-year in 1Q10.

Toshiba saw above market performance in most regions except EMEA. Notebook demand was especially strong in emerging regions, but the US also contributed strong results from the holiday season last year.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Desktop and portable PC shipments exceeded expectations in the first quarter of 2010, IDC’s Quarterly PC Tracker has shown. Sustained consumer demand and renewed commercial buying contributed to solid growth rates

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years