PC recovery emerging after dismal 2009

PC recovery emerging after dismal 2009

The local PC market’s decline last year was not quite as bad as predicted by analysts IDC, with growth apparent by the end of last year.

IDC had predicted an overall decline of 12 percent in shipped units in 2009, tipping shipments would then rise 12 percent in 2010 and a further 7 percent in 2011 and again in 2012.

However, the overall decline year on year for 2009 was 10 percent to 611,000 units, with a fall of 16 percent by value to $661 million.

Desktops fared worst with a drop of 20 percent year on year by unit shipments in 2009, and 25 percent by value. Laptops fell 2 percent by shipments and 9 percent by value.

Although the local PC market grew 11 percent overall in 2008, it declined in each quarter that year and hit a low of about 150,000 units by the first quarter of 2009. The slide continued in the second quarter of 2009, with a year on year fall of 9 percent in laptops and 30 percent in desktops.

But signs of a comeback were emerging by the fourth quarter of last year, with an overall quarter on quarter gain of 18 percent by unit shipments in Q4 2009 and a 29 percent quarterly rise in value.

Desktops gained 21 percent quarter on quarter by unit shipments for the fourth quarter 2009 and 33 percent by value, and laptops gained 17 percent by shipment numbers and 27 percent by value.

IDC senior analyst Liam Gunson says the PC market in 2009 was strongly affected by the global financial crisis in the first three quarters of the year, but there were major gains in the final quarter.

“Initial indications are that the first quarter of 2010 will be a bit stronger than forecast, but still down on the fourth quarter of 2009,” he says. “We are hearing that we are coming out of the worst of it but it is still a bit tough out there.”

Enterprises and medium-size companies that were well positioned prior to the global downturn have begun to spend on PCs again, but some smaller firms are still struggling with their businesses, he says.

Emerging local growth is in line with that of the Asia Pacific region, according to Gartner’s preliminary results for the first quarter of 2010. They show shipments grew 36.9 percent year on year for the quarter. Globally, shipments rose 27 percent year on year for the first quarter, according to Gartner.

The rise of netbooks continues locally, with 92 percent growth year on year and the category’s share of the portable market growing from 7 percent last year to 13 percent in 2009.

IDC predicts netbooks will continue to grow and “carve out their niche” in 2010, but growth in the category will taper off in 2011, says Gunson.

The top-five vendor rankings remained largely unchanged year on year, with the exception of the number five spot in laptops switching from Asus in 2008 to Apple in 2009.

There were no changes in the top five from Q3 to Q4, with HP maintaining the top spot in desktops and laptops, followed by Dell in desktops and Toshiba in laptops. Acer held onto the third spot in both desktops and laptops, with Apple taking number four in desktops and Lenovo taking fifth in desktops.

Gunson says Apple is performing strongly in the US and Australia, and have established themselves among consumers locally. “They started with a bit of a halo effect with the iPod and the iPhone and have captured a large consumer segment. They’ve expanded their consumer channel — they’re in more retailers now and have prominent positions within retailers’ [stores] now.”

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