Preliminary numbers from Gartner indicate global PC shipments grew by 1.1 percent last quarter, the worst growth since 2002. However, while shipments rose from 77.2 million units in Q4 2007 to 78.1 million units in Q4 2008, revenue experienced a record decline but Gartner didn't publish specifics.
PC shipments dropped from 17.4 million units to 15.6 million units in the US, the worst decline since the US recession in 2001:
“The United States experienced steeper than expected shipment declines due to the recession. The Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region was also affected by the economic slow down across key countries,” said Mika Kitagawa, principal analyst for Gartner's Client Computing Markets group. “Asia/Pacific recorded the worst shipment growth since Gartner started its PC statistics research. Latin America met expectations, but its growth was much lower than in the past.”
In the US, the PC market in the fourth quarter of 2008 had its worst shipment decline since the last US recession in 2001. PC shipments in the US declined 10 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2008.
“The fourth quarter started out with a relatively optimistic view, but then it got worse every month,” Ms Kitagawa said. “In the fourth quarter, US businesses quickly cut IT spending with public sectors, including some government and education buyers, postponed PC procurement due to budget crisis concerns. PC vendors focused on the professional market were especially hit by the weakening market conditions. Overall, consumer mobile PC shipments showed strength, but the shipment growth was boosted by steep ASP declines which were further accelerated by the popularity of mini-notebooks.”
Strong sales of low-cost systems such as netbooks managed to save sales, but resulted in lower revenue.
The growth driver for the 2008 holiday PC season was the mini-notebook segment. With more vendors offering creative sales promotions, the mini-notebook segment outpaced overall mobile PC growth. However, PC revenue experienced a record decline. Steep average selling price (ASP) declines, as well as robust growth of low-priced systems, including mini-notebooks, contributed to this drop.
Here's a quick overview of the marketshare of the five most popular PC vendors in the world: