Global PC market bounces back

12 Dec 2007

After their slump this time last year global PC shipments are projected to grow substantially in the fourth quarter – the busy Christmas selling season – with laptop computers remaining the key driver for growth.

According to IDC’s PC tracker, worldwide PC shipments are projected to rise by 16.9pc in Q4.

This follows a slow second half of 2006, where growth reached a low of 7.9pc in the fourth quarter.

Growth has accelerated steadily in 2007 reaching 16pc in the third quarter, as a result annual growth is expected to reach 14.6pc in 2007, up from 10.1pc in 2006.

Portable PC adoption remains a key driver. In the third quarter, worldwide portable PC shipment growth of 37pc was the fastest in more than a decade, edging growth of more than 35pc in several quarters in 2003 and 2005.

The rapid move to portables has taken a toll on desktops. With the support of emerging regions, global desktop volumes continue to increase in low single digits.

However, the growth differential between desktops and portables has never been larger. In the third quarter, portable growth was more than 33 percentage points faster than desktop growth – a differential that has not been over 30pc since 1996.

The rapid transition has boosted portable share of client PCs to nearly 45pc in the third quarter, and will likely reach 50pc by the end of 2008.

“The peak portable growth seen in the third quarter will be difficult to sustain, but it reflects strong demand across regions and segments that will fuel growth going forward,” said Loren Loverde, director of IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.

“It will be increasingly important for PC vendors to have a strong portable offering to stay competitive as the market continues its rapid shift to mobile computing.”

International markets have also driven volume. Following years of steady growth, the PC market outside the US and Japan reached 68pc of global shipments in the third quarter.

Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) and Rest of World (including Latin America, Canada, central and eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa) are approaching 50pc share and growing by more than 20pc in 2007.

Western Europe, representing more than 22pc of global volume, also continues to grow at a rapid pace.

“The significant influences driving the growth of portable PC volume include: falling prices, the narrowing performance gap as compared with desktops, improving wireless connectivity and the expanded access through retail channels,” said Richard Shim, personal computing research manager.

“The desktop market will aim to maintain share by emphasising improvements in energy efficiency, shrinking case designs and emerging mainstream opportunities, such as gaming and all-in-one systems,” Shim noted.

By John Kennedy