Sat, Apr 18, 2009 - Page 11 News List

PC shipments to ‘hit bottom’ in 2009

By Elizabeth Tchii  /  STAFF REPORTER

Global PC shipments will hit bottom this year as the economic crisis continues to unfold, industry researchers said.

Shipments were likely to drop 1.5 percent year-on-year to 262.44 million units from 266.36 million units last year after a growth of 11.5 percent last year, the Market Intelligence and Consulting Institute (MIC, 產業情報研究所) reported yesterday.

“In 2008, there was no problem on the demand side; instead, we saw a supply chain glitch when there was a sudden shortage of notebook batteries and plastic coating. But as we are in 2009, the real problem is not on the supply side, but strictly a lack of worldwide demand,” said Chris Wei (魏傳虔), an MIC senior analyst.

By comparison, International Data Corp (IDC) and iSuppli Corp are somewhat positive about global PC shipments, though they have both recently downgraded their forecasts. IDC predicted shipments would grow 3.8 percent this year and iSuppli estimated an increase of 4.3 percent.

Previously they forecast increases of 13.7 percent and 11.9 percent respectively for this year.

According to IDC’s figures, worldwide PC shipments were down 7.1 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, while most pundits suggested there would be a better performance in the second quarter.

Wei believes a re-shuffling of the PC industry is due as a result of the worldwide recession.

“Smaller PC firms will either go out of business, merge or be bought out. But the top five ranking PC vendors such as Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Acer (宏碁) shall remain in their spots,” Wei said.

Due to the global credit squeeze, consumers are embracing low-priced netbooks, which are encroaching on the market share of traditional notebooks.

Based on MIC’s forecast, notebook shipments would buck the downward trend by registering more than 50 percent year-on-year growth to 122.21 million units this year.

“But as we start to see vendors come out with less expensive notebooks with bigger screens embedded with Intel’s Atom Z series central processing unit, there will definitely be a tug-of-war,” Wei said.

The real victims in this battle would most likely be high-end notebooks, he said.

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