New Research Shows Healthy PC Sales

Despite the downturn in the U.S. economy, iSuppli research finds that PC shipments, led by Hewlett-Packard and Dell, were robust in the first quarter of 2008.

A new research report shows that despite the uncertainties of the U.S. economy, PC shipments were robust in the first quarter of 2008 with Hewlett-Packard and Dell leading the way.

The June 27 report from iSuppli found that worldwide PC shipments increased 12.1 percent in the first quarter of 2008 for a total of 69.9 million. In the first quarter of 2007, shipments topped 62 million.

In the past five years, PC shipments have increased by 12 percent in the first quarter of each year, which puts the first quarter of 2008 on par with that traditional growth. While some companies, especially those businesses in financial services and banking, are struggling, iSuppli found that sales of notebooks continue to help feed the PC market.

"The first quarter of 2008 was better than hoped for, due to continued strong demand growth for mobile PCs," Matthew Wilkins, an analyst for the firm, wrote in a summary. "However, 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."

This new research backs up other assessments that found while the U.S. economy remains sluggish, PCs sales are expected to grow in double digits throughout the rest of 2008. This growth is being driven less by enterprise purchases and more by consumer sales of notebooks and demands for PCs in emerging markets, such as China, Russia and Latin America. For the entire year, iSuppli is predicting growth of 11 to 12 percent thanks to infusion of low-cost notebooks, such as the Asus Eee PC, into the market.

HP, once again, is leading the charge and saw its PC shipments increase 23 percent in the first quarter for a total of 13.2 million. HP controls nearly 19 percent of the global market thanks to the company shifting much of sales to overseas markets and a heavy investment in notebooks.

Dell, which has been looking to move its business away from traditional desktops and focus more on notebooks and retail sales, saw its shipments increase 20 percent, from 8.9 million in 2007 to 10.8 million in 2008.

Acer ranked third in the iSuppli support. The company had shipments of 6.8 million, an increase of 10.5 percent. While the company has found a large consumer market for its brand of inexpensive notebooks, Acer increased its shipments through acquiring Gateway in the United States and Packard-Bell in Europe, and the iSuppli numbers reflect the combined numbers.

Lenovo, with shipments of 4.8 million, and Toshiba, with PC shipments topping 3 million in the first quarter, round out the top five, according to the report.