Global PC sales strong despite sluggish US economy

HP, Dell and Acer stay on top of the sales heap for PC makers, says iSuppli

Global PC shipments were healthy in the first quarter despite an ailing US economy, according to iSuppli research.

Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Acer all stayed atop the worldwide PC-sales heap, retaining their top-three rankings from the fourth quarter of 2007.

This good news comes in sharp contrast to earlier news from analyst firm IDC about US-focused sales in the same quarter. In April, IDC reported first quarter US PC sales growth of a "meager 3.5 per cent" compared to the year-earlier period. The US-based research firm had initially predicted 7 per cent growth in the quarter.

IDC analyst Doug Bell told Computerworld said he thinks a lot of desktop and laptop purchases by US companies and consumers will be pushed off until 2009. He added that the US economy hasn't yet affected worldwide PC sales, but it might in the coming quarters.

Meanwhile, research firm iSuppli reported that worldwide Q1 sales remained strong. Global PC sales increased by 69.9 million units in the first quarter, up 12.1 per cent from 62.4 million sold in the first quarter of 2007, the company said. That's good news for an industry in the midst of a sagging economy. iSuppli reported that during the last five years, first-quarter PC shipments have grown by an average of 12 per cent compared to the same quarter the year before. That means Q1, 2008 is right on track.

"The first quarter of 2008 was better than hoped for, due to continued strong demand growth for mobile PCs," said Matthew Wilkins, a principal analyst for iSuppli, in a statement. "However, the financial markets are still adjusting to the effects of the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the United States, as are the consumers and businesses that have had their financial positions impacted."

HP, with a global market share of 18.9%, held onto its top spot among PC makers. The company shipped 13.2 million PCs worldwide in the first 2008 quarter, up 23% over the same time frame last year. It was the biggest percentage growth for any of the companies in iSuppli's top 10 list.

"Hewlett-Packard continues to outgrow the overall PC market and the competition due to a number of factors, including its strong channel presence and its success in capitalizing on the strength in the notebook segment," Wilkins said.

Dell's Q1 shipments were up 20 per cent, coming in at 10.8 million units. Its marketshare hit 15.4 per cent, up half a percentage point. In the number three spot, Acer shipped 6.8 million units in the first quarter, giving it a market share of 9.7 per cent.

Lenovo and Toshiba rounded out iSuppli's top five list, with market shares of 6.9 per cent and 4.4 per cent percent respectively.

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Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld

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