Mirroring the first quarter of the year, global PC shipments again came in slightly ahead of expectations in the second quarter, lessening fears over the extent of the PC market slump, an IDC report suggests.Toshiba was a standout by out performing the market.

Worldwide PC shipments were down 3.1 percent from Q2 2008, according to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. However, the researcher says this figure is a notable improvement over its original forecast of a 6.3 percent drop ­ thanks largely to consumers.

IDC says all regions either met or surpassed expectations. Although the global downturn is still making its effects felt, IDC reckons the slump has been mitigated by changes in the PC market which has seen computing become “more personal, portable, and cost-oriented rather than performance-driven”.

Portable PCs continue to be the primary driver of volume and growth, with all regions seeing strong portable shipments.

“These results are a very positive indicator for the second half of the year,” says Loren Loverde, program director for IDC’s Tracker program. “We are seeing continued demand from consumers and limited impact from supply-chain factors such as inventory balancing.”

Loverde predicts a return to growth by the end of 2009, driven by new product launches, seasonal growth and growing economic confidence.

While the market has outperformed expectations for a second consecutive quarter, the lack of commercial activity remains a drag on growth, Loverde says. The commercial segment remains more conservative with spending, focusing on other priorities and preserving cash. “As a result, the segment has not been as motivated by falling prices and new portable designs as the consumer segment,” says Loverde.



What about Australia? IDC doesn’t break out figures for the island continent, but it does note that in the Asia/Pacific region excluding Japan
(APeJ) PC shipments have exceeded forecasts, fueled by very strong portables growth. However it seems most of that has come from South-East Asia rather than Down Under.

Worldwide, Hewlett-Packard made further inroads into the consumer portable sector through the retail channel and continued to gain share overall. H-P grew 3.6 percent year-over-year worldwide with above-market performance in the US, Europe and Asia/Pacific. Dell clung to second spot but shipments tumbled 17 percent; it was the only top five maker to lose ground (see chart, p.1).

Acer capitalised on its growing channel presence to ship portables geared toward a wide range of cost-conscious consumers. The company maintained its lead in netbooks, and IDC says its early entry into Atom-based notebooks should also pay dividends later in the year.

Chinese maker Lenovo’s renewed focus on notebooks and emerging regions produced positive growth following declines in the past two quarters. Solid growth was reported in Latin America and APeJ.

Toshiba had a solid second quarter in which it outgrew the market in most regions and moved up to the fourth spot in the US.


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