PC shipments plunged during the first quarter of 2009 by the fastest rate for at least seven years, with Dell leading the business off the proverbial cliff, according to a new report by iSuppli.
Vendors in the first quarter of this year shipped only 66.5 million desktop and mobile PCs, iSuppli reported on Friday.
This was down 8.1 percent compared to the 72.3 million units sold during the first quarter in 2008, and down 14.4 percent from the 77.6 million units sold in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Mobile PCs fared much better than desktop PCs, iSuppli said. First-quarter mobile PC shipments were up 10.2 percent in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the same period last year, while desktop PC shipments fell 22.5 percent during the same time period.
It is a situation likely to continue for the foreseeable future. ISuppli estimated that worldwide mobile PC shipments in the first quarter of 2010 should increase 10 percent compared to 2009, while desktop PC shipments should fall 6.7 percent during the same period.
In a statement, Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for compute platforms research at iSuppli, blamed the worldwide recession and credit crisis for the plunge in PC sales, which the El Segundo, Calif.-based research firm had previously expected to slip only 4 percent year over year.
"After a long period of immunity to the global downturn, the economic crisis finally has begun to impact the PC market," Wilkins wrote.
Dell led the plunge in the first quarter of 2009 with a drop in total PC shipments of 18.7 percent compared to the first quarter of 2008 thanks to very weak desktop PC sales, iSuppli said in the report.
However, Toshiba was able to increase its shipments by 13.2 percent during the quarter, iSuppli said.
For the first quarter of 2009, Hewlett-Packard retained its position as the world's top PC supplier by shipping 13.07 million units, up 0.4 percent from the 13.02 million units shipped in the same period last year. That gave HP a 19.7 percent share of the market.
Dell, despite its 18.7 percent plunge in sales, managed to keep its position as the second largest PC vendor by shipping 8.8 million units to give it a 13.2 percent share of the market.
However, Dell's position is being threatened by Taiwan-based Acer, which saw its shipments rise 9.5 percent from last year to 7.4 million units in the first quarter of 2009, giving it an 11.1 percent share.
China-based Lenovo saw its shipments drop 7.7 percent to 4.4 million units in the first quarter of 2009, giving it a market share of 6.7 percent.
Rounding out the top five was Toshiba, whose 13.2 percent rise in PC shipments to 3.5 million units gave it a 5.2 percent share of the worldwide PC market.
Other PC vendors, which accounted for 29.1 million units, saw their combined shipments drop 13.5 percent, iSuppli said.