Fri, Jan 15, 2010 - Page 12 News List

PC shipments show substantial Q4 growth

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER WITH AFP , SAN FRANCISCO

Fueled by low-priced laptop computers, worldwide PC shipments surpassed 90 million units in the fourth quarter of last year, showing year-on-year growth of 22.1 percent — the strongest momentum in seven years, preliminary results by Gartner Inc released yesterday showed.

“Shipment growth was largely driven by low-priced consumer mobile PCs, both in regular notebooks and netbooks. As economic weakness continued, buyers became extremely price sensitive,” Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. “Low-priced notebooks were good enough for many average consumers.”

These results indicate the recovery of the PC market on a global level, Kitagawa said.

“The US and Asia-Pacific had already shown positive indicators in the third quarter, however the fourth quarter of 2009 results were more concrete evidence of the recovery,” she said.

Acer Inc (宏碁) established itself as a leader of the sub-US$500 consumer notebook segment in key regions in the fourth quarter. The firm’s improved branding strategies also helped it to work better with channel partners, the statement said.

In the Asia-Pacific region, PC shipments surpassed 27.1 million units, marking a 44.4 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2008.

China was key to the region’s performance, accounting for more than 61 percent of all PCs shipped in the region, Gartner said.

For the whole of last year, worldwide PC shipments grew 5.2 percent to 306 million units.

Hewlett-Packard Co maintained its top position last year, while Dell Inc was replaced by Acer as the No. 2 vendor based on shipments.

Meanwhile, nearly 20.7 million computers were shipped in the US in the final three months of last year, setting a new record and heralding economic revival, according to industry tracker IDC.

Abundant deals on low-priced netbooks and demand that built up during the economic crisis boosted shipments of computers 24 percent in the final quarter of the year as compared to the same period a year earlier, IDC reported.

“The market has weathered a storm which looks to be behind us,” IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker research analyst Jay Chou said.

“But salvaging decreasing margins will soon become even more pertinent as one considers the long-term effects of holding market share at the cost of profitability,” Chou said.

If computer makers lock into competing on price to sell low-cost machines, the market will “continue down the slippery slope of ‘good-enough’ computing sold to the lowest bidder,” Chou said.

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