Worldwide mobile PC shipments totalled 49.4 million units in the first quarter of 2010, a 43.4% increase from the first quarter of 2009, according to final results by Gartner. This year on year growth is the highest the mobile PC market has experienced in eight years and represents about $36 billion in end user spending.
Shipments to the consumer segments continued to be the main growth driver, but there was an uptake in the professional segment. Gartner expects to see higher growth in the professional market toward the end of 2010 and into 2011 as part of a larger refresh cycle.
“Mini-notebook PCs were a big part of the bump in mobile PC shipments in the first quarter of 2010, with shipments growing 71% over the same period last year,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “However, mini-notebooks’ share slowed in some regions as consumers begin to understand the limitations of mini-notebooks, especially in the face of aggressive price cuts of regular notebooks.
“The average selling price (ASP) of mobile PCs was $732 in the first quarter of 2010, a 15.7% decline from the first quarter of 2009, when the ASP was $868,” Kitagawa said. “The ASP for mobile PCs is expected to stabilise as sales into the professional market will grow, resulting in slightly higher ASPs compared to consumer mobile PCs.”
HP continued to be the number one vendor in worldwide mobile PC shipments, as it accounted for 19.2% of shipments in the first quarter of 2010. However, HP and Dell were the only vendors in the top five to grow below the industry average. Asus and Acer experienced the strongest growth rate among the top tier vendors with shipment increases of 113% and 48.4%, respectively. Gartner analysts said this growth was driven by sales in the low end consumer market.
Gartner estimates that there are about 500 million mobile PCs currently in use worldwide. Products from adjacent categories, such as smartphones and media tablets (Apple’s iPad), offer messaging and web access, which are challenging the key applications for PCs. While Gartner does not see these products as a direct replacement for mobile PCs, analysts are closely monitoring how consumers and businesses are using them. The top applications that are downloaded will tell a lot about how these devices could displace some mobile PC sales in the future.