PC shipments suffer 23 percent slump

El Segundo (CA) Market watcher iSuppli says PC shipments have fallen by the most it has seen in seven years of keeping tabs on the industry.

Q1 2009 worldwide PC shipments totalled 66.5 million units, 8.1 percent down on the 72.3 million units sold during the same period in 2008, and a 14.4 percent drop from 77.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2008.

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

Desktops suffered worst, with first-quarter unit shipments down by 23 percent on the same quarter last year, while notebooks grew 10 percent compared to the same period.

HP remained the number one PC vendor for the eleventh successive quarter, a market share of 19.7 percent, but its shipments remained flat from a year earlier at 13 million units.

Second place Dell declined to 8.8 million units in the first quarter, compared to 10.8 million units during the same period in the 2008. The company’s market share declined to 13.2 percent.

“Dell’s performance in the first quarter was heavily influenced by its weak desktop shipments, which dragged down its overall market share,” Wilkins said.

The rest of the top five saw Acer, Lenovo and Toshiba achieve market shares of 11.1 percent, 6.7 percent, and 5.2 percent respectively.

On the bright side, iSuppli says it saw strong netbook sales through network operator retail outlets:

“The bundling of a low-cost portable computer and an Internet access package has clearly struck a chord with consumers,” Wilkins said. “The reduced upfront pricing of such packages provided by monthly contract plans also has been a strong factor propelling their success.”

The company reckons that netbooks will account for 14 percent of notebook PC shipments this year, up from nine percent in 2008.