By The Numbers: A Miserable Quarter for PC Sales

Netbook sales and a very weak professional market contributed to a grim Q4 2008 in PC sales, reported Gartner.

Gartner Inc. released PC sales figures for the final quarter of 2008 that quantified what everyone in the industry already felt -- it was a horrible quarter for PC sales. Some lowlights of the report:

  • Worldwide shipments of 78.1 million units represented a 1.1 percent increase from Q4 2007.
  • U.S. shipments of 15.6 million units plunged 10.1 percent from Q4 2007. It was the worst shipment decline in the United States since the 2001 recession.
  • Dell Inc. PC sales in the United States fell 16.4 percent. Hewlett-Packard Co.'s comparatively smaller fall of 3.4 percent puts HP at a very close second to Dell for U.S. PC sales. Gartner noted that Dell was hurt by a very weak professional market.
  • Acer went like gangbusters in the United States, growing 55.4 percent on the strength of its mini-notebook or netbook products. Mini-notebooks outperformed mobile PCs overall, a development that translates to a decline in the average selling price of PCs.
  • While some name brands were hit, it was an especially bad quarter for OEMs without big names. Worldwide, Gartner's "others" category dropped 4.6 percent for the quarter. In the United States, the "others" category saw sales fall a whopping 44.4 percent.
  • For all of 2008, PC shipments totalled 302 million units, an increase of 10.9 percent over 2007. There was no change in the order of the Top 5 worldwide vendors from 2007 to 2008. They were (in order) HP, Dell, Acer, Lenovo, Toshiba.

Source: Gartner Inc.


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