July 1, 2008

Worldwide PC Shipments Growing Despite Sluggish U.S. Economy

Worldwide PC shipments growing despite sluggish U.S. economy

LOS ANGELES, June 30 (Xinhua) -- The worldwide computer market is seeing growth despite the economic woes due to a sluggish U.S. economy, with global PC shipments up a double-digit percentage in the first quarter of 2008, a market research firm said Monday.

The total PC shipments rose to 69.9 million units in the first three months this year, up 12.1 percent from 62.4 million in the same period last year, as Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Acer retained the top-three rankings, according to the Los Angeles-based research firm iSuppli.

"The first quarter of 2008 was better than hoped for, due to continued strong demand growth for mobile PCs," said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for compute platforms research at iSuppli.

But he noted that the financial markets are still adjusting to the effects of the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the United States, as are the consumers and businesses who have had their financial positions impacted.

During the last five years, first-quarter PC shipments have grown by an average of 12 percent compared to the same period during the previous year, putting the beginning of 2008 on par with the norm.

The outlook for the PC market in 2008 remains healthy despite challenging conditions, according to iSuppli.

"We now forecast global PC unit shipment growth in the range of 10 to 11 percent this year," said Wilkins. "Exciting new developments in the area of low-cost PCs will help stimulate PC demand, along with bringing them to a wider audience."

Market leader HP was able to grow its PC shipments by over 23 percent in the first quarter this year, while No. 2 computer maker Dell saw a growth of 20 percent. The two U.S. companies have 18.9 percent and 15.4 percent of the global PC market respectively.

Acer still holds the number three spot on the top suppliers list with a 9.7 percent global market share. The company managed to distance itself from its once close rival Lenovo in market-share terms through its 2007 acquisitions of U.S. computer makers Gateway and Packard Bell.

China's Lenovo sits in the number four spot with 4.8 million systems shipped in the first quarter, a 20.3-percent year-on-year growth. It currently has a 6.9-percent share of the global PC market.

Market analysts said that Lenovo's entrance into the global consumer computer marketplace may help it gain ground in the next rankings. The company announced Monday its first consumer-aimed desktop computer for markets other than China.

Although Lenovo is known outside of China mainly for its business- oriented laptop and desktop computer systems, it has been selling consumer-oriented systems as well as business systems for a while in China.

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