Local PC shipments have declined for the third quarter in a row, falling seven percent for the first quarter of the year and 16 percent year on year, but analyst firm IDC says a turnaround is on the horizon.
Notebook sales are tipped to lead desktops in a recovery back to shipment levels of approximately 180,000 units, a level last seen in quarter two of 2008.
Infrastructure and IT services associate analyst Stefan Nordbruch says firms can only delay the purchase of new PCs for a certain amount of time.
“Companies started delaying their hardware refreshes in the second half of last year. There is only a certain amount of delaying companies can do because of laptop wear and tear. But cheaper laptops will be dependent on a recovering exchange rate,” says Nordbruch.
“We have had three quarters of decline already, so we do expect the market to pick up towards the end of the year,” he says.
However, for this quarter market conditions remain bleak. Portable shipments declined by four percent to 86,907 units, a 12 percent decline year on year. IDC says consumer notebook shipments fell two percent, despite vendors running successful back-to-school promotions, while commercial notebook shipments dropped eight percent.
Conversely, consumer desktops recovered slightly from last quarter’s sharp decline and grew 11 percent. This was driven by demand for Atom and AMD-based entry level systems, says IDC. Commercial desktop shipments declined 19 percent sequentially, representing a 25 percent drop over the same time last year.
Yet, IDC says the consumer PC market continues to fare well despite the tough economic conditions, due to promotions, finance offers and cheap, Atom CPU-based systems.
Nordbruch says the small and medium business PC market continues to be under pressure.
“Hardware is among the first [purchase] that can be postponed. If you have a 10 percent [overall] budget cut, the question for the small business is do you buy new laptops or keep the current ones?”
HP held its dominance in both the desktop and laptop markets for the first quarter, while Acer climbed to second spot in the desktop market and held its third position in notebooks.
Acer country manager Mark Dalton attributed the vendor’s performance to some strong enterprise sales.
“We also made some serious ground in retail in the PC space.We’re pretty happy with how we are tracking now. Retail, particularly through our partner Noel Leeming, is tracking strongly.”
HP personal systems group marketing manager Warwick Grey says HP’s product range, channel partners and brand awareness in both the desktop and laptop market has helped maintain its position.
“Across the board in desktop and laptop HP has 33 percent market share. It’s the most trusted brand in New Zealand, according to Readers Digest readers. We now also have 300 resellers specialising in point of sale.”
Toshiba, meanwhile, held on to its second spot in the laptop market. Information systems division country manager Gary Wicks says the vendor has been able to ride out the recession better than others.
“It’s times like this when a channel-focused company really comes to the fore, because when times are tough you rely on very good partners to bring in the business. We’ve been very successful in distribution in the past couple of years. From both a business and consumer point of view, we’re the number one supplier in the distributors we work with,” he claims.
Nordbruch says Acer’s rise to second place in the desktop market was due to its introduction of Atom-based desktops. “These are comparatively cheap when you appreciate they sell for less than a $1000. That had an impact on the consumer desktop numbers for them.”
Apple moved to fourth spot in the desktop space, while Lenovo dropped to fifth place.
“Apple had quite a successful last quarter,” says Nordbruch. “They had back-to-school promotions with a free iPod, which was quite successful. The entry-level Macbook hasn’t changed in price, so [it has been] attractive.”
Top five PC market vendors for Q1: