Notebooks Outsell Desktops Worldwide

According to market research company, iSuppli, this is the dawning of the age of the notebook. iSuppli makes this declaration because for the first time ever, notebook shipments worldwide have exceeded desktop shipments. This paradigm shift is marked by only a difference of about 100,000 units, but it follows a long trend of declining desktop PC growth and growing notebook sales for sometime now. Notebooks sales have exceeded desktop sales in the U.S. for a number of quarters now, but this is the first time this trend has gone global.

"Momentum has been building in the notebook market for some time, so it's not a complete surprise that shipments have surpassed those of desktops... However, this marks a major event in the PC market because it marks the start of the age of the notebook. The notebook PC is no longer a tool only for the business market, or a computer for the well-off consumer; it’s now a computer for everyman." -- Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for compute platforms at iSuppli

ASUS N10Jc netbbok
For the third quarter of 2008, 38.6 million notebooks shipped worldwide, while 38.5 million desktops shipped. These numbers mark a 40-percent growth for notebooks and a 1.3-percent drop for desktops compared against the third quarter of 2007. Overall, the combined shipments of desktops and laptops for the third quarter of 2008 saw about 79 million total units shipped, which is a 15.4-percent gain from the previous year. This actually exceeds iSuppli's earlier estimates of seeing only 12-percent growth.

While these numbers might defy the decreased spending we're seeing in other sectors as a result of the downturn on the global economy, it could just mean that the PC business (notebooks and desktops) will just see a delayed response. In fact, iSuppli predicts that we'll see only a 4.3-percent growth in PC shipments in 2009, compared to the estimated 13-percent iSuppli expects we'll see come the end of 2008.

For the third quarter of 2008, HP and Dell continue to hold the number one and two spots, respectively, for most number of units shipped worldwide. The top five are:

Units shipped
Market share
 1 HP 14.9 million
 2 Dell 11 million 
 3 Acer 9.7 million 12.2%
 n/a 7.5%
 5Toshiba n/a 4.6%

Other significant data show that Asus bumped Lenovo out of the number five spot for notebooks shipped worldwide; and Apple actually dropped about half of a percent of total PC shipments (notebooks and desktops) to 3.2-percent--putting Apple at the number seven spot for worldwide PC shipments. Acer actually saw a 79 percent increase in PC shipments in the third quarter of 2008 versus the third quarter of 2007; and Acer sold 3 million more notebooks in the third quarter of 2008 that it did in the second quarter of 2008, with "the majority of those 3 million being the company's netbook products." The recent emergence and instant popularity of the low-power, inexpensive netbook product category is one of the key factors helping to drive notebook growth worldwide.