Seasonal storm hits monitor market

Seasonal storm hits monitor market

A traditionally weak third quarter has again struck the local monitor market. According to IDC figures, shipments dropped 13 percent quarter on quarter for the three months ending last September after a second quarter resurgence.

The company’s peripherals analyst Ariki Pearson says a seasonal low in consumer and commercial buying usually arrives at that time of year, with consumers waiting for deals on offer in the busy Q4 Christmas season and IT managers taking a break from work.

“Seasonal trends were more pronounced in the standalone/unbundled market in Q3 2009. The drop looks more pronounced between Q2 and Q3, as Q2 is usually the strongest quarter of the year. A small 1 percent year on year drop is a reflection of the market being quite static due to the recession.”

Shipped units declined from 83,804 to 73,136 in Q3 2009 — hitting similar levels last recorded in the first quarter of 2009 (73,411) and quarter three of 2008 (74,113).

Pearson predicts the ratio of monitors sold against PCs sold should remain steady or slowly decline over time; because most new desktops are already bundled with adequate LCDs, creating less need for users to upgrade their displays.

“This trend might be further compounded by the weak economy and end users might hold off the purchase of an upgrade monitor, extending their monitor replacement cycles, while still buying new systems. In addition, the introduction of a greater range of cheap, all-in-one desktop PCs, with large 18.5-inch and 21.5-inch displays, can have the impact of reducing the PC-monitor ratio.”

The impact of all-in-ones

Monitor/desktop bundles will continue to decline due to the rise in popularity of notebooks, says Pearson, adding standalone monitors will retain their place in commercial markets.

Bundles including better-specified and larger screen monitors are in robust demand, says Pearson.

Despite increasing popularity of all-in-one [AIOs] PCs, IDC predicts continued demand for standalone monitors for some time yet.

“Currently AIOs make up such a small proportion of the total desktop market. Apple has been doing AIOs for some time.”

IDC expects more vendors will release AIOs locally, as the trend is growing internationally. HP, Lenovo and Acer are vendors to watch in this regard, says Pearson.

However, he believes it is too early to tell how much momentum will gather in the AIO category.

“They are likely to be another form factor that will satisfy a segment of the market rather than the whole market. There will be some cannibalisation of traditional desktops, but it will not be the death of them.

“In some commercial segments where physical space may be an issue, we could see AIOs becoming the choice of some IT managers. However, in the commercial space where desktops need to be replaced, the user is able to refresh just the desktop but not necessarily the monitor.”

Bundled monitors made up 28,727 of the total market in Q3 2009, while 44,409 were non-bundled.

While the desktop market is caught in a downward trend in terms of unit shipments, IDC has recently observed a modest uptake of thin client/monitor bundles.

Cashing in on notebooks, dual monitors

“Nevertheless, a thin client sale does not necessarily equate to a monitor sale, as saving on hardware expenditure is often one motivator for such a solution. The desktop market is under tremendous pressure and a recovery is not expected until the end of the year. Overall, trends that impede monitor growth appear to be continuing in the local market, with economic recovery as the one factor that could buck this trend.”

Monitor vendors are now partnering with notebook vendors to educate users on the benefits of dual screens or docking stations, and bundling monitors with notebooks at discounted prices. “More vendors are also introducing affordable, notebook-compatible monitors with USB connectivity to increase their notebook bundled market,” Pearson says.

Most entry-level PCs and laptops have graphics cards capable of supporting multi-monitor displays, he says. “This trend, especially in more developed countries, is already seeing an uptake, but it remains to be seen if it will be sufficient to cushion the decline of standalone monitor sales caused by an increase in migration to notebooks.”

Vendor rankings for the total NZ market including bundled and nonbundled monitors remained largely unchanged from Q3 2008 to Q3 2009 with HP, Dell and Acer, holding the top rankings. It was a much closer competition between the next three vendors Viewsonic, LG Electronics and Philips.

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