RealTime IT News

PC Market Recovery Has Begun: iSuppli

The PC market began to pull back from the brink in the second quarter of this year, as it achieved sequential growth in unit shipments for the first time in six months, according to iSuppli.

Global PC shipments in the second quarter totaled 67.2 million units, down 4.3 percent from the 70.2 million sold in the second quarter of 2008. But it was a one percent improvement over the 66.5 million sold in the first quarter of 2009. Q1 shipments were down 14 percent from Q4 2008.

Of course, PC vendors are not out of the woods yet. Gartner and IDC have both predicted the market will likely not surpass 2008 figures until at least 2012, and that's with the disastrous fourth quarter of 2008.

"iSuppli predicts continued sequential growth in the third and fourth quarters, driven by the slow improvement in the worldwide economy, along with the arrival of technology drivers, such as Microsoft Corp.’s new client operating system, Windows 7. However, this growth had been expected and doesn’t change iSuppli’s forecast of a 4 percent decline in global PC shipments for the full year of 2009," said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst, compute platforms research, for iSuppli in a statement.

Improving economic conditions will help as consumers and businesses alike begin to spend more, but it will be the launch of Windows 7 and the subsequent ad blitz from Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and PC OEMs alike that will really get the industry going.

"This advertising blitz will get more people thinking about PCs," Wilkins noted. "This can only be a plus for the market."

iSuppli figures HP (NYSE: HPQ) will continue to reign at the top with 20 percent market share. The real action will be for the number two slot as Acer becomes poised to take that slot from Dell.

Acer's second quarter 2009 shipments grew 23.3 percent over 2Q08, while Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) fell 19.5 percent. The reason is their target markets. Acer is fully focused on the consumer market while Dell has put most of its chips in the business markets, and throughout this downturn, consumer sales have held up better than consumer.

However, it's also notable that Dell's CFO Brian Gladden has stated he expects Windows 7 to be a "driver" of PC sales but that sales might fall off in anticipation of its October release as buyers wait for the new operating system. Dell CEO Michael Dell is also very positive on Windows 7.

"Acer's rise is due to another strong performance from its notebook PC business, clearly capitalizing on the demand for mobile computing," Wilkins said. "Meanwhile, Dell continues to suffer because of the weakness in the corporate market, despite showing improvements in its consumer business."