Market research firm IDC released a report about global processor shipments in Q3 2009, the data indicates CPU unit shipments rose 23 percent quarter-over-quarter. That's roughly double the normal growth in unit shipments for the third quarter, while revenue grew more than 14 percent quarter-over-quarter to $7.4 billion.
The strongest quarterly growth came from notebooks, thanks to strong sales of netbooks this segment saw a growth of 35.7 percent. Desktop processor sales grew 11.4 percent, while x86 server processors gained 12.2 percent.
"The story about 3Q09 leads with Atom processors being sold in mini-notebooks (a.k.a. netbooks) manufactured and sold in China," said Shane Rau, director of Semiconductors: Personal Computing research at IDC. "While Atom processors led the PC processor market to reach record unit shipments, on the revenue side, their low average selling price led to notable price erosion, more than 7%. As a result, while market shipments rose 23.0% compared to 2Q09, market revenue grew less, 14.1% compared to 2Q09. Most meaningful about 3Q09 is that, since PC processor shipments overall just slightly exceeded shipments in 3Q08—which was itself a record quarter at the time—we know that the processor market is recovering."
Intel managed to increase its marketshare by 2.2 percent to 81.1 percent, while AMD lost 2 percent and stranded at a marketshare of 18.7 percent. The third player in the market is VIA, although this company's marketshare has shrunk to just 0.2 percent.
There's also data for each market segment. In the mobile PC market Intel dominates with 88 percent, a gain of 1.1 percent, while AMD lost 0.7 percent to 11.9 percent and VIA takes the third spot with a measly 0.2 percent marketshare. In the desktop PC market AMD dropped 1.9 percent to 27.4 percent, while Intel saw a gain of 2.0 percent to 72.2 percent. VIA on the other hand has just 0.3 percent. Servers is another market in which Intel has almost complete domination, the company gained 0.5 percent to 90.4 percent marketshare, while AMD lost 0.5 percent to 9.6 percent.
The outlook for the fourth quarter is healthy, IDC expects unit shipments will grow 1.5 percent compared to 2008, but the forecast for 2010 is a bit more conservative.
Due to the market's excellent performance and signs early in the fourth quarter that demand for PCs, particularly mobile PCs is healthy, IDC has raised its forecast for PC processor unit shipments in 2009 to well over 300 million units and a unit growth rate of 1.5% compared to 2008. "Compared to where the market was at the beginning of 2009, PC processors have come back remarkably strong," said Rau.
Despite raising its forecast for 2009, IDC is conservative about early 2010. Noted Rau, "While it's clear our concerns about the second half of the year weren't necessary, we're still watching for a 'gotcha', possibly in 1Q10. The market's growth has been due to shipments of inexpensive Atom processors being sold into markets like China, which is being stimulated by government incentives there. The Chinese market can be very opaque—there are lots of places where inventories can hide. We have to be on the lookout for when China decides it can’t consume more processors. Meanwhile, the U.S. market is still hamstrung by housing foreclosures and rising job losses."