India's PC Market Flat Despite Growth in Notebooks

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India's PC market saw almost no growth in the third quarter and is likely to stay that way through next year, according to research firm IDC India.

Unit sales of PCs grew in the third quarter by only 1.7 percent over the same period last year, to 2.27 million units, with inventories piling up in the channel, IDC India said on Wednesday. In the third quarter last year the country's PC market grew by 25 percent to 1.8 million units.

Fourth quarter buying is also subdued as the global economic downturn has affected local demand, said Kapil Dev Singh, country manager at IDC India. "This subdued growth is likely to continue through next year," he added.

While desktop PC shipments fell 8.9 percent in the third quarter, notebook PC shipments grew 37.8 percent, according to IDC.

Hewlett-Packard was the largest seller of both desktops and notebooks, with a 19.7 percent share, followed by India's HCL Infosystems with 9.8 percent, and Dell a close third with 9.6 percent.

Dell, which has stepped up its sales and marketing in India, eased out Lenovo, which held the third spot in the third quarter last year.

The higher growth rate for notebook PCs has been a trend for over a year, as users shift from buying desktops. The price differential between desktops and notebooks PCs has fallen, making notebooks more attractive to users, Singh said.

Unit sales of desktops, at about 1.6 million, were still higher than the 705,000 units for notebook PCs in the third quarter.

The first signs of a slowdown in the Indian PC market came in the first quarter, when PC sales grew by about 10 percent to 2.1 million units. That was far lower than last year, when PC sales grew by 20 percent to 6.5 million units.

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