Despite good results at the end of 2008, the Bulgarian PC market lost momentum 1Q09. According to the latest data from IDC, PC shipments grew only 3.5%, the worst result in three years, while revenues contracted 13.7% year on year.
"The weakening economic environment, including falling home and stock values, deteriorating industrial output, tightening credit, and resulting implications for trade and consumer spending, was clearly the dominant factor limiting growth," said Evelin Stoev, Senior Analyst, IDC Bulgaria. "Mini notebooks, vendor competition, price cuts, and post-Christmas promotions were simply not enough to overcome the economic tide, even with the market for mini notebooks taking off."
Surprisingly, it was the notebook category as a whole that dragged the market down, with shipments of portable PCs growing 1.3% year-on-year, compared to a 58.3% year-on-year increase in 4Q08. Meanwhile, the price pressure on desktop PCs pushed volume up 5.9% from a year ago. However, the clear winner of this quarter was the x86 server segment, with shipments growing 16.9% year-on-year.
"Price cuts and the transition to portables could not offset the crisis impact in 1Q," said Evelin Stoev. "The market has taken a serious hit and the competitive environment, along with the race to low-cost alternatives within the same product category, could easily undermine PC vendors' profits...The industry is resting its hopes on infrastructure building, public-sector spending, egovernance, and other development projects."
The top three vendors - HP, Acer, and Toshiba - were responsible for more than a third of overall PC shipments while the home and SMB segments were among those less affected in 1Q. However, with difficult general elections expected in the summer, the PC business is facing a challenging environment, with a substantial reduction in spending among both consumer and commercial segments, amid tightening credit, eroding confidence, and growing unemployment.
* IDC's PC Quarterly Tracker delivers timely intelligence and an inclusive database detailing changes and trends in the Bulgarian PC market. The tracker enables users to view data by volume, value, country, year, quarter, vendor, brand, processor brand, and channel. It also includes easy-to-read summaries that analyse volume and value by form factor, vendor, and end-user segment.