Consumer notebooks save PC bacon

Shipments of PCs worldwide fell by 19.1 percent in the second quarter of this year compared to last year, and sales of commercial notebooks stayed depressed.

But, according to market research company IDC, sales of consumer portables showed a spurt of 44 percent compared to last year.

Netbooks – or mininotebooks also showed growth but as their cost averaged $400 compared to a standard notebook’s $900, shipment value took a hit.

ODC predicted that desktop volume sales will be flat in 2010 but portable PC growth will average 16.5 percent, driving overall gains.  The introduction of the consumer ultra low voltage PCs will limit netbook growth and prevent erosion of prices.

Jay Chou, a research analyst at IDC, said that while mininotebooks have hurt the margins of traditional notebooks, ultrathin notebooks using low voltage CPUs from both AMD and Intel will “somewhat stem the tide”. That point was emphasized by another IDC analyst, Loren Loverde: “Buyers need to be willing to pay a premium for more robust systems, which may be challenge in tight economic times and in an era of ‘good enough’ computing.” Rising commercial spending will boost demand for traditional notebooks.

IDC predicts the following for the notebook and desktop market, with shipment numbers being represented in millions.

Region Type 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
USA Desktop 31.4 26.6 25.6 25.1 24.8 24.5

Portable 34.1 39.5 44.5 52.0 58.7 62.9

Total 65.5 66.1 70.1 77.1 83.4 87.4
Int’l Desktop 113.5 97.6 98.1 101.2 104.2 106.1

Portable 108.4 120.4 141.7 172.1 204.3 238.6

Total 221.9 218.0 239.8 273.3 308.5 344.7
W/wide Desktop 144.9 124.2 123.7 126.4 129.0 130.6

Portable 142.5 159.9 186.2 224.1 262.9 301.5

Total 287.4 284.1 309.9 350.4 391.9 432.1

The PCs in IDC’s forecasts include desktops, notebooks, ultra portables, and mini notebook PCs, but not handheld devices.

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