The PC industry performed better than expected as worldwide PC shipments totalled 80,9-million units in the third quarter of 2009, a 0,5% increase from the third quarter of 2008, according to preliminary results by Gartner. The research company had expected PC shipments to decline 5,6% in the quarter.

“These are good results especially given that PC shipments for the third quarter of 2009 are being compared to a very strong third quarter from 2008,” says Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “Sequentially, third quarter shipments grew 18 per cent, which is higher than the historical seasonal growth from the second to third quarter.
“The consumer market continued to lead unit shipment growth, driven by low-priced mobile PCs,” Kitagawa adds. “Ongoing price declines continue to be a major issue in the PC industry. PC vendor performance cannot be determined solely by unit market share gains as related revenues and margin performance are key to surviving in very competitive market.”
Hewlett-Packard (HP) continued to lead the worldwide PC market as its shipment growth exceeded the worldwide average. HP did well in Asia/Pacific, particularly in China.
Acer came in second on worldwide shipments, with 15,4% market share, followed by Dell wtih 12,8%, Lenovo with 8,5% and Toshiba with 5%.
Gartner analysts believe the launch of Microsoft’s latest operating system (OS), Windows 7, should have a minimal impact on PC unit growth. But inventory adjustments around the launch could artificially affect shipment volumes during the third and fourth quarters of 2009.
“Recent OS releases have not been a growth driver in the PC market, however the timing of Windows 7 is favourable for the industry due to expected economic improvements and an overdue hardware replacement cycle,” says Kitagawa. “We anticipate renewed interest in hardware upgrades from consumers and small business during the holiday season as a result of Windows 7’s release. In the corporate market, Windows 7’s adoption is not expected to ramp up until late 2010."
After three consecutive quarters of year-on-year shipment declines, PC shipments in the US totalled 17,8-million units in the third quarter of 2009, a 3,9% increase from the third quarter of last year.
The Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) PC market had a double-digit decline in the third quarter of 2009. PC shipments in EMEA totalled 26-million units, a 10,1% decrease from the same period in 2008.
“The EMEA PC market in the third quarter of 2009 continued to be weak across all EMEA countries,” says Ranjit Atwal, principal analyst for Gartner’s client computing markets group in EMEA. “While the market declined 4,5% quarter-on-quarter, this indicates both a bottoming out of the slump and a modest return to seasonal patterns.”
The professional market continued to be very weak in the mobile and desk-based PC markets with both segments seeing double-digit declines. “Despite some signs of return in IT spending, hardware will continue to see lifecycles extended. PCs were the first sector impacted by cost containment strategies at the beginning of the year and are likely to be the last IT segment to see a return to spending,” Atwal adds.
Acer again gained the number one position from HP in the third quarter of 2009. Dell showed one of the weakest performances this quarter, with a 17,6% decline year-on-year as its reliance on the weak professional market continued to hold it back.
“With no imminent return to growth in the professional market, Dell can expect to continue to lose share. HP also saw the same demise in the professional market but managed to see some upside from the consumer market,” says Atwal.
“We predict that the EMEA PC market will see a 10 per cent decline for 2009. 2010 will begin slowly as the launch of Windows 7 in the coming days is not expected to see mainstream professional market adoption until the second half of 2010,” he adds.