PC manufacturers upbeat despite drop in sales

April 16, 2009

PC manufacturers upbeat despite drop in salesPC sales did not fall by quite as much as expected in the first three months of 2009. That’s the industry’s way of putting a positive spin on a 7.1 percent annual drop.

In total, 63.4 million PCs shipped worldwide between January and March. That’s slightly higher than IDC, which put together the forecast, had predicted: it expected an 8.2 percent fall year-on-year.

The figures came the day after Intel’s CEO Paul Otellini said the beginning of the year marked the point at which sales had bottomed out and that demand is getting back to normal seasonal patterns. However, Intel isn’t giving specific forecasts for its own business.

Sales patterns are far from consistent across the industry, with several large firms noting sales were up on the same time last year. The big winner is HP which enjoyed a 12 percent annual rise in US sales, taking it to the number one slot in the US market. That came at the expense of Dell, which suffered a 16 percent fall in domestic sales. There’s also good news for Acer, which had a 6.8 percent worldwide rise and a 13.4 percent increase in the US.

One notable surprise is that the US market held up relatively well in comparison to the global averages. Even more surprisingly, the US figures had a strong boost from netbook sales, confounding predictions that the low-cost machines would be more likely to drive business in developing markets. Of course, the downside is that this likely means lower revenues (and possibly lower profits), which aren’t measured in the ITC figures.

Elsewhere, the Europe, Middle East and Asia market saw its biggest decline in sales since 2001, Japan finally took a hit with high-end machines proving particularly vulnerable to economic concerns, and Asia performed as expected, with a drop desktop sales balanced by stronger demand for portable machines.

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