Worldwide PC microprocessor shipments in the fourth calendar quarter of 2009 (4Q09) rose modestly, compared to 3Q09, but still achieved all-time record levels for a single quarter, according to IDC's latest PC processor study. Notably, when compared to 4Q08, shipments in 4Q09 rose 31.3%. For the full year 2009, total PC processor unit shipments grew 2.5%, while revenue declined 7.1% to $28.6 billion.
"Compared to 3Q09, the modest rise in shipments in 4Q09 indicates that the market is returning to normal seasonal patterns," said Shane Rau, director of Semiconductors: Personal Computing research at IDC. "Compared to 4Q08, the huge rise in shipments indicates that the market has put the recession behind it. Both comparisons indicate that the PC industry anticipates improvement in PC end demand in 2010."
Looking at market performance by PC form factor, both mobile PC processors and PC server processors grew well. Mobile PC processors, which include Intel's Atom processors for mininotebooks (also known as netbooks), increased 11.7% in 4Q09 compared to 3Q09. x86 server processors grew 14.1% quarter over quarter. Desktop processors grew 4.8% quarter over quarter.
On the client side—mobile and desktop—IDC notes that mainstream and performance processors rose modestly as a percentage of the total mix compared to value processors, which caused the overall market average selling price of processors to rise 6.7% quarter over quarter.
"The sequential rise in mainstream and high-end client processors points to the new products, like Core i5 and Athlon II, that Intel and AMD were shipping into the market for the holiday buying season in the fourth quarter," said Rau. "What's interesting there is that consumers were there to buy systems based on them and that OEMs were investing in them for future builds. At the same time, the sequential rise in server processors indicates that server OEMs are starting to see corporations come off the sidelines."
4Q09 and 2009 Vendor Highlights
In 4Q09, Intel earned 80.5% unit market share, a loss of 0.6%, while AMD earned 19.4%, a gain of 0.7%, and VIA Technologies earned 0.2%. In the full year 2009, Intel earned 79.7% unit market share, a loss of 0.7%, AMD earned 20.1%, a gain of 0.8%, and VIA Technologies earned 0.3%.
In 4Q09 by form factor, Intel earned 87.3% share in the mobile PC processor segment, a loss of 0.7%, AMD finished with 12.7%, a gain of 0.8%, and VIA earned 0.1%. In the PC server/workstation processor segment, Intel finished with 89.8% market share, a loss of 0.6% and AMD earned 10.2%, a gain of 0.6%. In the desktop PC processor segment, Intel earned 71.1%, a loss of 1.1%, and AMD earned 28.6%, a gain of 1.2%.
In 2009 by form factor, Intel earned 86.8% share in the mobile PC processor segment, a loss of 0.3%, AMD finished with 12.8%, a gain of 0.8%, and VIA earned 0.3%, a loss of -0.5%. In the PC server/workstation processor segment, Intel finished with 89.9% market share, a gain of 3.2% and AMD earned 10.1%, a loss of 3.2%. In the desktop PC processor segment, Intel earned 71.0%, a loss of 2.5%, AMD earned 28.8%, a gain of 2.3%, and VIA earned 0.3%, a gain of 0.1%.
IDC's has raised its forecast for growth in PC processor unit shipments to 15.1% compared to 2009. "We're looking forward to the end of the second quarter and the second half of the year as corporations qualify new client and server platforms and open up their IT budgets further. Combined with healthy consumer spending, the resumption of corporation spending will lead to a healthy 2010," said Rau.
IDC's report, Worldwide PC Processor 4Q09 Vendor Shares (forthcoming), provides worldwide market share results for PC processor vendors on an overall unit and revenue basis, as well as by form factor (desktop, mobile, and x86 server).