Q1 US PC sales hit could affect NZ

Q1 US PC sales hit could affect NZ

PC shipments in the United States took a sharp hit in the first quarter of 2008 due to a sluggish economy, with analyst company IDC predicting that it will flow through to New Zealand sales.

Framingham, Massachusetts-based IDC reported the US PC market growth slipped to a "meagre 3.5 percent" year-over-year in the quarter. That comes in well under the 7 percent IDC had predicted. The global PC market, however, grew by 14.6 percent to 69.5 million units.

IDC Australia and New Zealand senior analyst Liam Gunson says news of an overseas economic downturn can create hesitancy in hardware purchasing.

“People want to get more out of the hardware they currently have, rather than upgrading.”

However, local low employment rates have helped to drive the consumer PC market.

“People are still willing to buy PCs and it also helps that the price in the consumer market continues to fall.”

He adds there have been inhibitors such as high interest rates and high petrol prices in the local economy for some time now.

And Gunson says there is still local momentum in purchasing.

“There might be more hesitation later on in the year. We’ve had feedback that indicated March might have been softer in the hardware market. There is no doubt that we see a slowdown in various sectors and the hardware sector is no exception, but we’re still expecting positive growth for the PC market with the strongest growth coming from the notebook space for 2008.”

IDC United States analyst Doug Bell says he is still hesitant to say that the sluggish PC shipments will last all year, but he does think that a lot of desktop and laptop purchases will be put off until 2009. He also said that the US economy hasn't yet affected worldwide PC sales, but might in the coming quarters.

As in earlier quarters, much of the US PC growth came from notebook sales, particularly the consumer notebook segment served by major retailers, according to IDC. Laptops are prompting consumers to stretch beyond the traditional one PC per household measure to one PC per person.

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