A new report by Jon Peddie Research found that sales of graphics cards were up 3 percent sequentially to 16.81 million units in Q2 2009. The market is showing a small rebound, but sales are still down 15 percent year-over-year.
After draining down inventories in the “shock and awe” of Q4’08 and Q1’09, AIB inventories simply couldn’t go much lower. So AIB purchases at a minimum had to at least track actual consumption, and perhaps even rise a bit higher, so as to add some weight to anemic inventories. Add in the notion that buyers were finally sticking their heads up out of the foxholes — perhaps not dropping wads of cash, but at least buying something — and the quarter for discrete AIBs proved at least steady, if not robust.
But while they certainly will take solace in the thought that results could have been far worse, many stakeholders in the AIB market might feel a bit cheated in Q2’09, as the sister market for motherboard integrated graphics processors (IGPs) did profit from that much-hoped-for big bounce in volume (up 4%, year-over-year, as previously reported by JPR). At least for now, AIBs aren’t seeing the same extent in recovery that IGPs are.
Overall, buyers of graphics were back out en masse, but the overall graphics market’s growth figures didn’t translate as strongly to the AIB segment. They might have, had buyers been less price-conscious. But price-conscious buyers were, and that meant purchases of both “free” IGPs and low-priced AIBs got the bump in volume, not so much higher-priced AIBs, or AIB units overall.
As for marketshare, JPR reports that NVIDIA dropped from 68 percent in the first quarter to 64 percent in Q2 2009, while AMD gained four percent to 35 percent.