PC Shipments To See Record Decline

    March 2, 2009

The PC industry will see its sharpest unit decline in history, with shipments totaling 257 million units in 2009, an 11.9 percent decrease from 2008, according to Gartner.

Previously, PC units had their worst decline in 2001 when unit shipments shrank 3.2 percent.

"The PC industry is facing extraordinary conditions as the global economy continues to weaken, users stretch PC lifetimes and PC suppliers grow increasingly cautious," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner.

George Shiffler III, Research Director, Gartner
George Shiffler III

Both emerging and mature markets are projected to see record market slowdowns. Up to this point, emerging markets collectively recorded their lowest growth in 2001, 11.1 percent. Mature markets had their lowest growth in 2001, negative 7.9 percent. In 2009 emerging markets are expected to post a decline of 10.4 percent and mature markets a decline of 13 percent.

"Growth in both emerging and mature markets will be driven by similar dynamics even if the precise impacts vary somewhat. Slower GDP growth will generally weaken demand and slow new penetration, lengthening PC lifetimes will reduce replacements, and supplier caution will keep inventories at historic lows until confidence in a recovery eventually firms," Mr. Shiffler said.

Global mobile PC shipments are forecast to reach 155.6 million units, a 9 percent increase from 2008. Desk-based PC shipments are expected to total 101.4 million units, a 31.9 percent decline from 2008. Mobile PC growth will be substantially driven by continued growth in mini-notebook shipments.

Worldwide mini-notebook shipments are forecast to total 21 million units in 2009, up from 2008 shipments of 11.7 million units.  Mini-notebooks will cushion the overall PC market slowdown, but it won’t be enough to prevent the market’s decline. Mini-notebooks are projected to account for just 8 percent of PC shipments in 2009.

"The mini-notebook market is dividing as vendors offer more systems with 9" to 10" screens in addition to those to with 7" to 8" screens," said Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner.

"For the most part, users are moving toward systems with larger screens and greater capabilities; systems with 8.9" screens were the standard in the second half of 2008."