Gartner: Global PC Sales Up in Q2

Vendors had to do almost anything to make a deal, but it worked.

Gartner today announced that worldwide PC shipments for the second quarter of 2008 were 71.9 million units, a 16 percent increase from the second quarter of 2007. Every territory was up by double digits except the U.S. and Japan, which are mature markets.

PC shipments in the U.S. reached 16.5 million units in the second quarter of 2008, for a 4.2 percent increase over the same quarter last year. To get there, OEMs had to cut prices aggressively, and with most component prices holding steady, those cuts came out of their bottom lines.

"Eventually, that will kill them going forward," Mika Kitagawa, principal analyst for Gartner's Client Computing Markets group, told "They decided to go into really aggressive price cuts, but I was a little surprised that their price cuts were that high."

Kitagawa said the price cuts were across the board, in both business and consumer PCs, but consumer products had a much deeper average selling price (ASP) decline. "The larger vendors can survive such a cut, but it was worse for white box vendors and smaller PC vendors. Some of them might not survive," she said.

HP (NYSE: HPQ) remains the number one PC vendor, with 18.1 percent of the 2Q08 market and 17.1 percent year-over-year growth. Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) is firmly in the number two spot, and catching up on HP, with 15.6 percent of the market and 21.9 percent growth. Gartner attributed the remarkable growth to Dell going into the retail market and finding new sales channels.

The best showing belonged to Apple, with 38.1 percent growth in the quarter despite its MacBook product line, its best seller, getting a little long in the tooth. Apple still has not released Penryn-based notebooks even though Intel released the processor in January. There is an iMac desktop with a Penryn 3.06Ghz processor on the market.

While Windows Vista's problems have been cited as the reason for Apple's resurgence, Kitagawa said it's not the only reason. "There are a few reasons Apple is doing well. One is the popularity of the iPod and iPhone, and they have been very successful at building the cool brand image. If you want to be cool, Apple is the product to have," she said.

Japan was the only other region to fall below 10 percent growth, with an 8.2 percent increase thanks to strong notebook sales in the enterprise and the growth of mini-notebooks. Kitagawa said Japan is considered a mature market, like the U.S., and growth is slower.

PC shipments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, often called EMEA, reached 23.1 million units for a 23.5 percent increase over 2Q07. Notebook demand was particularly strong, with growth of 40 percent. Asia/Pacific, which includes the red hot Chinese and Indian markets, was up 18.1 percent to 20.1 million units, with 45.6 percent mobile PC growth.

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Tags: iPhone, Vista, Intel, Dell, HP

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