Global notebook shipments finally overtake desktops

As if there was any doubt in regard to what direction the computer industry's collective form factor was headed, research firm iSuppli issued a report today which confirms that the trend towards notebooks has finally arrived. Thanks in part to the rise of the netbook, Q3 2008 was the first in which desktop sales were globally eclipsed by those of the notebook.

Calling it a "watershed event in the history of the industry," iSuppli's report caught the turning of the proverbial tables in its third quarter 2008 report on computer shipments. Worldwide notebook sales of 38.6 million edged out desktop PCs by a hair at 38.5 million. In fact, it was a surprisingly strong quarter that was otherwise marred by a global economic downturn. "Momentum has been building in the notebook market for some time," iSuppli's report notes. It continues to state that this is a "major event in the PC market" because it ushers us into "the age of the notebook."

Indeed we saw this coming, as notebooks outsold desktops in the US back in October, and our survey of the industry in January this year led us to call 2008 "the year of the laptop." Third quarter 2008 notebook shipments rose to nearly 40 percent from the same period in 2007, while desktop PC shipments declined by 1.3 percent. Overall PC shipments rose 15.4 percent over Q3 2007 to a total of 79 million units, surpassing even iSuppli's previous prediction of 12 percent year-over-year growth.

Largely contributing to the notebook growth this quarter was the rise of the netbook: compact, slower notebooks with smaller displays typically in the range of nine inches. Leading the netbook's march was Taiwan's Acer, the world's third-largest PC manufacturer behind Dell and HP. Acer's unit shipment market share grew by 45 percent just from the previous quarter, and a whopping 79 percent year-over-year, thanks to shipping nearly three million more notebooks in the third versus second quarter of 2008.

Speaking of the top manufacturers, the big five haven't changed from previous reports. HP held onto first place in during the third quarter with a market share of 18.8 percent, shipping 14.9 million units. Dell's in second with 13.9 percent and just under 11 million units shipped, followed by the aforementioned Acer, Lenovo, and Toshiba rounding out fifth place.

In light of third quarter shipments trouncing its prediction, but despite continued economic troubles, iSuppli has increased its 2008 unit growth forecast by one-half of a point to 13 percent. Its 2009 growth prediction, however, is at just 4.3 percent.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo, notebooks, Toshiba

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