PC market to decline first time since dot-com bust, says iSuppli

El Segundo, Calif. — For the first time since the dot-com bust of 2001, the global PC market will decline in unit shipments in 2009, due to a combination of falling IT spending and plunging sales of desktop computers, according to the latest report by iSuppli Corp.

The report, Touching Bottom? Desktop PCs Convulse and Contract, indicates that global PC shipments are expected to decline to 287.3 million units in 2009, down 4 percent from 299.2 million in 2008. iSuppli previously forecasted 0.7 percent growth in PC shipments for the year.

“An annual decline in unit shipments is highly unusual in the PC market,” said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst, compute platforms for iSuppli, in a statement. “Even in weak years, PC unit shipments typically rise by single-digit percentages. The last decline — in 2001 — was a 5.1 decrease in unit shipments due to the extraordinary impact of the dot-com bust, which caused inflated IT spending levels from the previous years to collapse.”

iSuppli said the key factor driving the decline in the PC market in 2009 is an expected 18.1 percent plunge in desktop shipments. Unit shipments of desktop PCs will total 124.4 million in 2009, down from 151.9 million in 2008. Entry-level servers, which iSuppli includes in its definition of PCs, also will suffer a decline, with shipments falling to 6.9 million units, down 9.5 percent from 7.7 million in 2008.

The bright spot: Notebook PCs. Shipments in 2009 is projected to grow by 11.7 percent to reach 155.97 million units, up from 139.6 million in 2008. Notebook PC shipments will exceed those of desktops on an annual basis for the first time ever in 2009, said iSuppli.


While iSuppli is currently correlating its data for second-quarter 2009 PC shipments, iSuppli’s forecast for the second quarter calls for flat shipments rising slightly by 0.1 percent to reach 66.54 million units, up from 66.45 million in the first quarter. In the third and fourth quarters, shipments are expected to rise sequentially by 11 and 8.9 percent, respectively.

Shipments in the third quarter are projected to be down 6.5 percent compared to the same period in 2008. However, in the fourth quarter, shipments will rise by 3.6 percent compared to a year earlier.

This trend will continue in 2010, with shipments rising on a year-over-year basis during every quarter of the year, according to iSuppli. For all of 2010, global PC shipments will rise by 4.7 percent from 2009.