IT is official - users are swapping desktops for notebooks.
According to IDC figures, sales of portable PCs, including notebooks and tablets, surged ahead once more in 2004, growing by 27.5%, while desktop sales grew just 7.9%.
Of the nearly half a million PCs sold in 2004, 145,611 were portables. This figure is still less than half the total of 354,094 desktops shipped during the year.
But sales of portable PCs have doubled since 2002, when only 71,237 units were sold. In 2003 portable sales leaped by 60.3%, while the desktop market grew by 16.9%.
IDC New Zealand hardware analyst Liam Gunson says although desktops held the show in the first half of 2004, as the $999 price point ran rampant, the move towards portables accelerated in the second half aided by shrinking price difference between the categories.
With 499,733 units shipped, the total desktop and notebook market showed positive growth, expanding 12.9% over 2003, says Gunson.
“A vibrant economy with rising property prices and a strong NZ dollar pushing down prices helped to drive the market,” he says.
Meanwhile, there was little movement in the PC vendor league table.
HP remains market leader, with a reduced share falling slightly from 34.2% in 2003 to 29.6% in 2004.
Dell keeps second place, but rocketed up to third in the portable rankings after not being ranked in 2003 on the back of aggressive corporate offers and an entry-level notebook sold though the Warehouse.
Despite surging portable sales, notebook specialist Toshiba dropped from third to fifth place in the overall market, as it missed out on the desktop boom earlier in the year. It retained the second slot in the portable market.
IBM passed Toshiba to take third place in the overall rankings, up from fourth, which is now occupied by Acer, creeping up one slot.
Toshiba country manager Callum Eade says the company is satisfied with its performance in 2004.
“We have seen unprecedented growth in 2004, but we are a specialist in mobility and are positioned as a quality brand.”
Eade adds notebook sales growth comes as many of the constraints of the technology, such as performance, price and portability are being overcome. “There is now even less reason not to choose a notebook over a desktop,” he says.
Growth is predicted to slow in 2005.
Gunson says the New Zealand PC market is in a period of refreshment as ageing PCs bought before 2000 are being replaced, but as this replacement cycle comes to a close the market is expected to remain relatively flat in 2005.
PC market total units
Vendor position 2003 Vendor position 2004
1. Hewlett-Packard 1. Hewlett-Packard
2. Dell 2. Dell
3. Toshiba 3. IBM
4. IBM 4. Acer
5. Acer 5. Toshiba
Source: IDC New Zealand