PC sales soar, but iPad still hurts netbooks

Computer sales are soaring, according to figures out from two research groups, but the impact of Apple’s iPad is taking its toll on netbooks.

PC sales soar, but iPad still hurts netbooks

The global PC market grew by 22.4% in the second quarter of the year, said IDC figures, and they were backed up by rival research company Gartner, which put the sales upswing at 20.7%.

The PC market remains robust, and in a recovery phase, despite challenges to a broader economic recovery

Although sales in the US were slightly behind expectations, growth in Europe, Middle East and Africa remained strong, the researchers said, and both companies expect refresh cycles in businesses to drive strong sales for desktops for the rest of the year.

“The PC market remains robust, and in a recovery phase, despite challenges to a broader economic recovery, such as slow job growth and a more conservative outlook in Europe and Asia-Pacific,” said Jay Chou, research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.

“The factors which led to the recent PC rebound – an ageing commercial installed base, a proliferation of low-cost media-centric PCs, and low PC penetration through much of the world – remain key drivers going forward.”

Netbooks slide

Although the overall figures remain positive, the netbook – which Gartner calls the mini notebook – has seen growth drop significantly, suggesting that the initial rush for the mobile devices is over, perhaps compounded by the popularity of the iPad tablet computer.

“Mini-notebook shipment growth slowed significantly in the second quarter of 2010,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.

“Mini-notebook shipment growth still exceeded growth rates of the overall mobile PC market, but mini-notebook growth slowed to the low 20% range, compared with more than 70% in the last two quarters. This slowdown indicates that mini-notebooks are entering a mature growth stage.

“Surging popularity of Apple’s iPad temporarily cannibalised mini-notebooks, as well as consumer notebook sales to some degree. It is not certain at this stage if the cannibalisation will continue with the current price point of media tablets.”

However, as we reported earlier this year, the slowing of netbook sales growth actually began before the iPad went on sale, so the maturity of the market could be more of a factor.

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