PC shipments fall for first time in years

Posted by Emma Woollacott

El Segundo, CA - For the first time since the dotcom bust of 2001, PC  shipments are falling this year, due to a combination of declining IT spending and plunging sales of desktop computers.

According to iSuppli, global PC shipments are expected to decline to 287.3 million units in 2009, down four percent from 299.2 million in 2008. iSuppli previously forecasted 0.7 percent growth in PC shipments for the year.

“An annual decline in unit shipments is highly unusual in the PC market,” observed Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst, compute platforms, for iSuppli. “Even in weak years, PC unit shipments typically rise by single-digit percentages. The last decline — in 2001 — was a 5.1 decrease in unit shipments due to the extraordinary impact of the dotcom bust, which caused inflated IT spending levels from the previous years to collapse.”

The main reason for the decline is an expected 18.1 percent plunge in desktop shipments, predicted at 124.4 million in 2009, down from 151.9 million in 2008. Entry-level servers — which iSuppli includes in its definition of PCs — will also see shipments fall to 6.9 million units, down 9.5 percent from 2008.

In contrast, notebook PC shipments in 2009 will rise by 11.7 percent to reach 155.97 million units, exceeding those of desktops on an annual basis for the first time ever.

Meanwhile, enterprise spending on IT technology is hurting PC sales. “Tight budgets are putting the squeeze on corporate IT spending,” Wilkins said. “This is hitting desktop and server sales particularly hard.”

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