Tumbling demand could affect PC makers next year, leading to industry consolidation, IDC, a global provider of market intelligence said on Wednesday.
Competition among PC makers could intensify as consumers and enterprises tighten budgets during the economic downturn, creating a stagnant market for PC makers, said Richard Shim, personal computing research manager at IDC. That could lead to fewer opportunities for PC makers to sell their products.
The PC market is already pretty mature globally, so the lower-than-expected shipments and falling prices could create consolidation in the PC industry, either through acquisitions or by forcing competitors out, Shim said.
In mature markets like the US and Europe, smaller PC makers may be forced out by larger competitors, Shim said.
However, in emerging markets the smaller PC makers are ripe for acquisition, as larger PC makers are always trying to expand their customer base.
PC shipments worldwide are expected to grow by only 3.8 per cent in 2009, a dramatic drop from the 13.7 per cent growth the firm predicted earlier this year.
Growth of PC shipments for 2010 has been lowered to 10.9 per cent.
While Dell reported slow growth in PCs shipped for the quarter ended 31 October, companies like Hewlett-Packard and Apple have defied the economic downturn, reporting consistent growth in shipments.
HP reported a 19 percent rise in unit shipments year-over-year for its most recent financial quarter, while Apple saw 21 percent growth in Mac shipments for the quarter ending 27 September.
Apple has a good chance of recording solid growth through the economic downturn compared to other PC makers,
Shim said. Historically Apple has outpaced the industry, as it has a loyal customer base willing to pay higher prices for PCs, Shim said.