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Tablet PC Sales Cut Into Desktop, Laptop PC Sales: Report

Analyst firm IHS iSuppli said that first quarter sales of Apple iPad and other tablet PCs cut significantly into sales of netbook PCs, causing a dip in overall PC shipments and a major dip in Acer's shipments.

First quarter 2011 shipments of desktop and laptop PCs fell about 0.4 percent compared to the same period last year as Apple iPad and other tablet PC sales displaced a large part of the portable PC market, with netbooks taking an especially large hit, according to the El Segundo, Calif.-based analyst firm.

PC shipments in the first quarter of 2011 hit 81.3 million units, down 0.4 percent from the estimated 81.6 million units sold in the first quarter of 2010, iSuppli said.

Leading the decline was Acer, which shipped an estimated 9.2 million PCs in the first quarter of 2011, down 20.4 percent compared to the same period last year. That decline stemmed from the huge drop in netbook PC sales, a market in which Acer was a major provider, IHS iSuppli said.

Hewlett-Packard was the largest supplier of PCs, with shipments down over last year by 2.1 percent to 15.4 million units. It was followed by Dell at number two, with shipments of 10.5 million units, down 1.8 percent. Because of its relatively small drop in PC shipments, Dell retook the number two spot from Acer, which held it last year.

Rounding out the top five vendors were Lenovo, which saw shipments rise 2.6 percent to 8.1 million units, and Toshiba, which enjoyed a 4.4 percent increase to 4.7 million units.

Increasing tablet PC sales, led by the Apple iPad, are impacting PC sales, with the attention surrounding tablet PC sales weakening consumer demand for PCs in the first quarter, wrote Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for compute platforms research at IHS iSuppli, in a research report. Corporate PC demand, however, was strong in the quarter, Wilkins wrote.

“IHS believes that the jury is still out on exactly how much tablets are cannibalizing PC sales,” Wilkins wrote. “However, the rising number of tablet models on the market, along with certain high-profile product launches during the first quarter, caused confusion among consumers as to exactly how to view the tablet platform relative to the PC platform. This contributed to the PC sales decline in the first quarter.”

IHS iSuppli said the slip in first quarter shipments also followed a very strong fourth quarter, when worldwide shipments totaled 93.1 million units, up nearly 5 percent compared to the 88.9 million units were sold in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Even so, IHS iSuppli expects 2011 to be a good year for PC sales, with sales for the entire year to reach 373 million units, up 8 percent over the 345 million units sold in 2010.

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