Global notebook computer shipments topped those of desktops for the first time ever on a quarterly basis in the third quarter of the year, according to market research firm iSuppli Corp.
The research firm, in what it described as a “watershed event in the history of the industry,” said notebook PC shipments rose nearly 40 percent in the third quarter compared with the same period last year to 38.6 million units.
It said desktop PC shipments declined 1.3 percent compared with the same period to 38.5 million units.
“Momentum has been building in the notebook market for some time, so it’s not a complete surprise that shipments have surpassed those of desktops,” Matthew Wilkins, an iSuppli analyst, said in a statement.
“However, this marks a major event in the PC market because it marks the start of the age of the notebook,” he said. “The notebook PC is no longer a tool only for the business market, or a computer for the well-off consumer; it’s now a computer for everyman.”
“The big news from iSuppli’s market share data for the third quarter was undoubtedly the performance of Taiwan’s Acer,” Wilkins said.
“Acer shipped almost three million more notebooks in the third quarter than it did in the preceding quarter with the majority of those three million being the company’s Netbook products,” he said.
Wilkins said the PC market managed strong growth in the third quarter despite the global economic downturn.
Worldwide PC unit shipments rose 15.4 percent over the third quarter of last year with 79 million units shipped, iSuppli said.
It said overall third-quarter PC shipments exceeded iSuppli’s forecast of 12 percent year-over-year growth for the third quarter.
iSuppli said Hewlett-Packard Co of the US retained its top ranking position in the third quarter of this year with shipments of 14.9 million units and a market share of 18.8 percent.
It said fellow US PC maker Dell Inc was next with shipments of around 11 million units, a market share of 13.9 percent, followed by Taiwan’s Acer Inc (宏碁), with shipments of 9.7 million units and a market share of 12.2 percent.
Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想) and Toshiba Corp were fourth and fifth, with market shares of 7.5 and 4.6 percent respectively. Apple, with a market share of 3.2 percent, was seventh overall in total PC shipments.
iSuppli slightly increased its full year unit growth forecast for this year from 12.5 percent to 13.0 percent and revised its outlook for next year to call for PC unit growth of 4.3 percent.