US computer market ended 2009 with a bang: IDC

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The Independent Tech

Nearly 20.7 million computers were shipped in the United States in the final three months of 2009, setting a new record and heralding economic revival, according to industry tracker IDC.

Abundant deals on low-priced netbooks and demand that built up during the economic crisis boosted shipments of computers 24 percent in the final quarter of 2009 as compared to the same period a year earlier, IDC reported.

"The market has weathered a storm which looks to be behind us," said IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker research analyst Jay Chou.

"But salvaging decreasing margins will soon become even more pertinent as one considers the long-term effects of holding market share at the cost of profitability."

If computer makers lock into competing on price to sell low-cost machines such as bare-bones netbooks the market will "continue down the slippery slope of 'good-enough' computing sold to the lowest bidder," Chou said.

The US computer market "exploded" thanks to bargain offerings such as mini-notebooks being rife just as budgets were loosening on the crest of an economic recovery, according to Tracker research manager David Daoud.

"First is the rubber-band effect and recovery from the year-ago quarter, which suffered from buyer contraction when the economic crisis was confirmed," Daoud said.

"The vendors responded with new low price points to stimulate demand and face competition."

Consumer purchases overcame a "weak commercial sector" to save the quarter, he added.

Computer sales seemed to be rebounding around the world, with the Asia Pacific, excluding Japan, leading the way with 31 percent growth thanks to a blazing China market, according to IDC.

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