PC market returns to annual growth, says iSuppli

El Segundo, Calif. — Worldwide PC shipments in the third quarter totaled 79.9 million units, which represents a 1.1 percent increase from the third quarter of 2008 and a 19 percent jump from the second quarter of 2009, according to iSuppli Corp. The market researcher also said the third quarter marks the highest sequential rate increase in shipments since iSuppli starting tracking the market in 2003, and PC unit shipments rose on a year-over-year basis for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2008.

“The sequential and year-over-year shipment increases show that the PC industry emerged from the downturn and began to grow again in the third quarter,” said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst, compute platforms research, for iSuppli, in a statement.

“Notebook PCs were critical in driving growth on both a sequential and a year-over-year basis. In fact, during every quarter of the economic downturn — the worst since the Great Depression — notebook PC sales always managed to generate growth compared to the same period a year earlier. This is a testament to the high value that consumers and businesses place on their mobile computing platforms.”

The report, “The Overall PC Market: A Stabilizing Environment?” reveals another milestone in the computer industry: an Asian OEM claiming the No.-2 position in the global PC market on a quarterly basis for the first time. In the third quarter, Acer Inc. of
Taiwan switched positions with Dell Inc.


Acer’s PC unit shipments rose by 16.6 percent in the third quarter of 2009 compared to the same period a year earlier and by 31 percent from the second quarter of this year, according to iSuppli. The upshot: the company’s share of worldwide PC unit shipments climbed to 13.4 percent, up from 12 percent in the second quarter of 2009 and up from 11.6 percent in the third quarter of 2008.

“Acer’s rise to the No.-2 rank in the global PC business reflects not only its strong performance in the notebook segment, but also the historic rise of Asia as a primary force in the computer industry,” stated Wilkins. “Company shipments of notebook PCs rose by 17 percent in the third quarter of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008 and by 28 percent from the second quarter of 2009.”

Wilkins attributes Acer’s success to an aggressive pricing strategy, strong netbook shipments and robust regional performances in both the European and U.S. markets.

Acer’s strong performance in the third quarter was paralleled by fourth-ranked Lenovo of China, whose PC shipments rose by 17.2 percent compared to the same period a year earlier, the largest increase among the Top-5 OEMs during the period, reports iSuppli.

“The Asian manufacturers are a growing force in the global PC business due to their aggressive pricing along with their ability to quickly react and embrace new developments, such as the netbook PC,” said Wilkins.

iSuppli expects the PC market to remain strong in the fourth quarter, and has revised its 2009 PC unit shipment forecast to a 0.9 percent decline, compared to the previous forecast of a 4 percent decrease.