NZ PC sales to fall for first time since 1996

NB = notebook; DT = desktop PC

New IDC analysis says PC shipments will turn south this year - but also names the date of an expected turnaround.

Following a slow start to the year, IDC has revised its forecast downward.

The IT market tracker is now picking PC shipments in New Zealand will decline 3% in 2009 over 2008.

If it pans out, the fall will represent “the first noteworthy contraction since 1996,”IDC Associate Analyst Stefan Nordbruch tells NBR. “In 2001 [after the tech wreck], the market remained literally flat year-on-year.”

The recession and crashing Kiwi dollar (graphically illustrated by the pricing of Apple’s new Mac Mini) are fingered for the slow down.

Global PC shipments
IDC's headline picture:

2008: 295.2 million units
2009: 282 million units (est.)
2010: 300.9 million units (est.)

For the rest of the world, IDC is now picking the PC market to decline by 4.5% during 2009 to 282 million units - a more pessimistic figure than December, when the market researcher was picking a 3.8% contraction over the 295.2 million PCs shipped in 2008 (IDC has not, however, become as pessimistic as its rival, Garner, which sees an 11.2% contraction in PC shipments this year).

Desktop PC sales have trailed off sharply; the fall balanced in part by growing notebook sales. The world-wide shipment of laptops will total 148.6 million in 2009, a lift over the 142.6 million units shipped in 2008 - largely fuelled by super-hot sales in the emerging netbook category.

The better news: IDC says put-off upgrades this year will lead to renewed growth during 2010 as pent-up demand is unleashed and kicks off a new upgrade cycle that should see 300.9 million PCs shipped in 2009, and a whopping 50% growth worldwide between now and 2013.

PC makers will be hoping that the release of Windows 7, at an un-named date later this year, will be one of the factors fuelling the comeback.

State of the PC nation, further quarter 2008
Back on home turf, looking back Oct-Dec last year, Mr Nordbruch says there was a 2% rise in New Zealand PC shipments against the year-ago quarter, but a 7% decline against the preceding quarter.

Consumer desktops PC shipments were the prime offender, dropping 25% year-on-year to help drag the entire market below IDC’s expectation.

Shipments of desktop PCs aimed at the business market remained relatively steady, however, dipping just 1%.

The net result was that, overall, desktop sales fell 10% year-on-year and 9% quarter-on-quarter to 67,844 units.

Portable PC shipments, at 90,991 units, grew 15% year-on-year but fell 3% quarter-on-quarter.

Mr Nordbruch says a 1% increase in consumer laptop sales was offset by a 9% decline in business models.

IDC Q4 2008 charts: another HP sweep
IDC's tables stay very similar to Q3 2008, bar Lenovo - which has had a focus on low-power consumption, small footprint models - jumping to number 4 in the desktop chart, and Apple leap-frogging Dell in the portable standings.

Desktop PCs
1. HP
2. Dell
3. Acer
4. Lenovo
5. Apple

1. HP
2. Toshiba
3. Acer
4. Apple
5. Dell

X86 Server
1. HP
2. IBM
3. Dell
4. Acer
5. Sun

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