January 15, 2009

Computer Shipments Slow With Economy

A worldwide financial crisis means global shipments of personal computers are declining for the first time in six years.

Technology research group, IDC, said worldwide shipments slipped 0.4 percent from the October-December quarter in 2007. In the U.S., PC shipments sank 3.5 percent from a year ago.

"Despite market optimism early in the fourth quarter, the pace at which the economic environment unraveled and the extent to which PC purchases were affected was faster than anticipated," the research group said in a statement.

IDC had originally predicted a quarterly decline in shipments, but the magnitude was greater than predicted.

The firm found fewer shoppers turned out to snap up low-cost netbooks, which are smaller, less powerful laptops.

The decline in worldwide shipments is alarming evidence that the economic crisis has spread beyond the U.S., said IDC research analyst Doug Bell.

He predicts sluggish sales will last into 2010 and believes there's little the technology industry can do to bump up spending until the economy recovers.

The world's largest PC maker Hewlett-Packard Co. shipped 3.1 percent more computers in the 4th quarter around the globe. However, second world leader Dell Inc. saw shipments sink 6.3 percent.

PC maker Acer Inc.'s shipments skyrocketed 25.3 percent, while China's Lenovo Group Ltd. and Japan-based Toshiba Corp. remained in fourth and fifth place.

Dell held on to its market-share lead over HP in the U.S. market, but just barely.

Dell shipments plunged 16.4 percent as companies froze technology budgets, while HP's shipments fell 3.3 percent.

Taiwan-based Acer's U.S. shipments surged 35.8 percent, driven by retail-outlet sales of the company's Aspire netbooks, Bell said.

Meanwhile, Apple Inc., shipped 7.5 percent more computers in the fourth quarter, slower growth than in the last several quarters.


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