The Asia Pacific region recorded the worst PC shipment growth since the IT advisory firm Gartner started its PC statistics research, up just 1.8 percent over the same quarter the previous year. This amounted to the volume reaching 19.5 million units. The China and India PC markets accounted for approximately 65 percent of the market in the Asia Pacific in the fourth quarter, and these countries were affected by a slow consumer market. PC shipments in China grew an estimated 0.8 percent, and 2.2 percent in India.
The low shipment figure in the Asia Pacific is in line with the worldwide trends - the worldwide PC industry suffered its worst growth rate since 2002 in the fourth quarter of 2008, said Gartner.
According to the information technology research and advisory company, worldwide PC shipments totalled 78.1 million units, a 1.1 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2007.
In the US, the PC market in the fourth quarter of 2008 had its worst shipment decline since the last US recession in 2001. PC shipments in the US declined 10 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008.
"The United States experienced steeper-than-expected shipment declines due to the recession," said Mika Kitagawa, principal analyst for Gartner's client computing markets group. "The Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region was also affected by the economic slowdown across key countries."
Mini-notebook segment a growth driver
Gartner said the growth driver for the 2008 holiday PC season was the mini-notebook segment.
"With more vendors offering creative sales promotions, the mini-notebook segment outpaced overall mobile PC growth," the report from Gartner noted. "However, PC revenue experienced a record decline. Steep average selling price (ASP) declines, as well as robust growth of low-priced systems, including mini-notebooks, contributed to this drop."
According to the report, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Dell, Acer, Lenovo and Toshiba were best performers. HP managed to grow above the worldwide average in the fourth quarter of 2008. However, its year-on-year growth was its lowest since its merger with Compaq in 2003. HP did well in EMEA by aggressively promoting the mini-notebook segment, but it was affected by sales in the US market.
Dell showed strong growth in the Asia Pacific, but struggled to increase shipment volume in North America and EMEA in the fourth quarter of 2008, said Gartner. Acer continued to show exceptional growth with worldwide PC shipments growing 31.1 percent in the same quarter. Lenovo maintained the fourth position in the worldwide market in the fourth quarter, but it suffered a shipment decline for the first time since 2006, Gartner said.
For the year, worldwide PC shipments totalled 302.2 million units in 2008, a 10.9 percent increase from 2007.
According to the advisory firm, the top five ranking remained unchanged compared to 2007. Dell recovered from its restructuring process in 2008, showing a slightly higher growth rate compared to the worldwide average. Lenovo continued to struggle outside of China's market. Its attempt to enter the consumer markets was not successful in 2008. Toshiba grew faster than the worldwide average by heavily targeting the consumer market.
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