IDC: Computer market beats analyst expectations

Latest PC figures show strong demand in Australia as the economic recovery gets underway

The Australian computer market is set to keep growing thanks to Government IT spending, according to analyst firm IDC.

Customers bought 1.27 million units of notebooks and PCs in the fourth quarter of the year. This was 3 per cent more than what analysts expected. The number of units shipped was 10 per cent higher year-on-year.

IDC associate market analyst, Neville Chan, said the unusual surge in sales came from business users.

“We’re on the way to recovery and we expect more commercial contracts to roll out in the next 12-18 months as a lot of these users have been holding off their major refreshes,” he said. “In some cases these machines are well overdue for renewal.”

The rise is in line with the global PC market, which recorded a jump in shipments due to lower pricing and slashed margins for vendors and resellers.

HP, Dell, Acer and Lenovo were the big winners from Government contracts, which Chan claimed would continue to surge.

He said HP’s commercial sales grew by 3 per cent.

“The Government will be driving a lot of PC buying,” Chan said. “We’ll then see Q2 go higher because of end of the financial year spending and Q3 will go down because of weaker consumer buying.

Apple computers were doing better than the rest of the market, but he explained this was probably a temporary surge.

“We saw Apple go well because of new products they released. That was also a trend driving other vendors in Q4 with the Windows 7 launch,” he said. “We expect Apple to maintain their momentum over the next 6-12 months but then we’ll see Apple fall back in line with the rest of the market.”

Chan warned 2011’s growth rate would be depressed due to the negativity of 2009.

“In 2010 we’re expecting a 5 per cent increase over 2009 and in 2011 we’re calling a smaller year-on-year growth of 3.4 per cent,” he said. “There are still areas of the market that are very cautious at the moment, especially in the SMB space.

The results come on the back of the consumer electronics market success in Australia compared to overseas markets.