Global PC market growth has dropped to its lowest level since the dotcom bubble burst at the turn of the century.
Fourth quarter figures from both IDC and Gartner suggest the impact the economic downturn is having on PC shipments is more pronounced than first feared.
According to IDC's data, global PC shipments declined 0.4 per cent year on year in Q4. This follows six years of growth.
Rival research house Gartner was slightly more upbeat, claiming that global PC shipments increased 1.1 per cent to 78.1 million units in Q4.
However, the market watcher said that PC revenue experienced a record decline during the quarter, with steep average selling price declines and robust growth of netbooks contributing to the drop.
At 4.9 per cent, PC shipment growth in EMEA was at its lowest since the 2000/2001 period, Gartner added. Unit sales in the region hit 30.4 million.
Meanwhile, Loren Loverde, programme director for IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, said IDC’s data suggests the economic crisis will have as pronounced an impact on the PC market as the last downturn.
“For all that's been said about this recession being different than 2001, the drop in PC growth from mid-teens the preceding year to near flat growth in the most recent quarter shows that the impact of this crisis looks similar to the last time around," she said.
“It is tempting to argue that international markets will be less affected, or that low prices and the transition to portables will limit the impact, but the market has taken a serious hit and the competitive environment along with a race to low-cost portables could easily undermine profits from mobile computing. I won't be surprised if recovery gets pushed further into 2010 as this crisis unfolds.”
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