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PC shipments still have that sinking feeling

Netbooks continue to surge in the second quarter, but can't offset the overall decline in the PC sector, IDC says. Those low price tags don't help matters.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

It's still dog days for those in the business of making and selling PCs.

Global PC shipments fell 2.4 percent in the second quarter of the year compared with the same quarter last year, and the value of those shipments dropped 19.1 percent over the same period, according to a report released Wednesday by IDC.

Desktop shipments dropped 17 percent for the quarter as more and more people continue to opt for portables, according to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker report. Consumer laptops and Netbooks accounted for the only bright spot, with overall shipments growing 44 percent over a year ago from a low of 28 percent.

However, the growth in portables came at a cost. Traditional laptops saw shipment growth of 13 percent for the quarter, but the financial value of those shipments declined 6 percent.

Netbooks proved the most popular, with shipments rising almost 25 percent, from 5 percent a year ago. But again, this trend brought down overall value, with Netbooks costing around $400 compared with $900 for traditional laptops.


IDC sees better times ahead, expecting the market to improve for both unit growth and value. Desktop volume is forecast to be flat in 2010, but portable PCs will grow 16.5 percent, said the report.

The Netbook market will continue to rise. But the trend toward thin, light laptops using CULV (consumer ultra-low voltage) processors will limit the market share of Netbooks, boosting the value of overall PC shipments.

"Although mininotebooks have hurt margins of traditional notebooks, we can expect Ultrathin Notebooks based on new low voltage processors from Intel and AMD to somewhat stem the tide," said Jay Chou, research analyst for IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.

Over the longer haul, shipments of portable PCs should rise 17 percent on average through 2013, delivering 11 percent growth in total PC shipments and close to 5 percent in the value of those shipments.