While IDC reported a healthy first quarter for the local desktop and notebook PC markets, the news remains bleak for local PC builders.
As shipments for the first quarter of the year expanded 8.6 per cent sequentially and 11.4 per cent when compared with the same quarter in the previous year. Whitebox's share of the market, however, dropped from 29.9 per cent to 23.8 per cent year-on-year, IDC senior hardware analyst, Liam Gunson, said.
"Further, in terms of unit shipments, the whitebox market is down 11.1 per cent compared to last year," he said.
Plus Corporation managing director, Nigel Fernandes, said the whitebox market had increasingly moved to other revenue streams in order to stay above water.
"If we were still doing what we were doing 10 years ago, we'd no longer be afloat," he said. "We're moving towards more peripherals, such as video cards and motherboards, which is where the latest technology is and it's what people are looking for."
Fernandes said the business had also relocated from Rydalmere to Silverwater and cut costs by not having to maintain as full an inventory as in the past.
Optima chairman and managing director, Cornel Ung, said the local builder's market share had dipped in the past 12 months, but claimed it was balancing out with an increase in government deals.
"We see ourselves moving forward into government agencies at a state level," he said. "We've had state government success, but losing share in education and retail."
According to IDC, notebooks continued their ascent with a sequential rise from 42.5 per cent of the market to 45.4 per cent between Q4, 2006 and Q1, 2007. Gunson said local box builders had been caught short in the notebook business without standards being adopted as quickly as they had been in the desktop market.
"Having a trusted brand also appears to have been more important in the notebook space as it's more of a personal computer," he said. "You start getting some of the behavioural aspects of mobile phones in terms of it being an extension of your personality."
Overall, the top seven PC vendors in the country retained their place on the sales ladder. HP ruled the roost during Q1 with 20.5 per cent market share. It was followed by Dell (15.4 per cent), Acer (11.8 per cent), Toshiba (8.6 per cent), Lenovo (6.9 per cent), Apple (5.0 per cent) and Asus (3.7 per cent).