Gartner: PC Sales Growth Slowed in Q4

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Analysis first Gartner has released its figures on worldwide PC shipments during the fourth quarter of 2008…and, as many expected, the news is not good. Worldwide, PC shipments during the fourth quarter of 2008 were up just 1.1 percent compared to the last quarter of 2007, marking the worst growth rate the industry has seen since 2002. But there were some bright spots: mini notebooks are hot, and Acer and Toshiba both posted substantial gains.

“The United States experienced steeper than expected shipment declines due to the recession,” said Gartner analyst Mika Kitagawa, in a statement. “The Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region was also affected by the economic slow down across key countries. Asia/Pacific recorded the worst shipment growth since Gartner started its PC statistics research. Latin America met expectations, but its growth was much lower than in the past.”

Overall, top PC maker Hewlett-Packard still managed to extend its market share by 3.5 percent year-over-year; however, that number is the lowest growth thte company has seen since it took over Compaq in 2003. Acer posted the largest share gain of any PC maker—31.1 percent year-on-year—with Toshiba posting a 20 percent year-on-year gain. Worldwide, Acer and Toshiba are the number three and number five PC makers. Dell retained its number-two spot, while Lenovo is in fourth place. Worldwide, PC makers shipped some 78.1 million units.

In the U.S. market, Dell remains on top…although the company saw a 16.4 percent decline in shipments compared to the last quarter of 2007. HP slid 3.4 percent in the United States, while Acer jumped a whopping 55.4 percent year-on-year in the U.S. market. Apple held on to fourth place with an 8.3 percent growth in shipments, and Toshiba landed in fifth place with a 12 percent year-on-year gain.

During the end-of-year holiday season, mini-notebooks were the leading segment of the computer market, outpacing overall PC sales growth. However, mini notebooks don’t carry high margins, and declines in average selling prices combined with declining overall PC revenue contributed to the overall decline in shipment growth.