However, while sales were down, according to IDC, total shipments came in close to forecasts, as portable PCs in key markets such as China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan were strong, lifting that segment to a 12% year-on-year growth.
IDC’s Bryan Ma, director of Asia/Pacific personal systems research, said that even though the quarter was soft, it was “somewhat relieving to see that the region's market was able to hold up to forecasts this quarter, especially compared to a dismal 4Q08."
"That does not mean that we are out of the woods yet though. The economy is still showing mixed signals, and recent political instability in markets like Thailand created further uncertainty. Commercial buying is thus still likely to remain questionable this year, but hopefully consumer portables can help offset that."
Ma said Lenovo remained the market leader despite the seasonal Lunar New Year slowdown, while HP was one of the few vendors to post a year-on-year gain in the midst of difficult economic conditions.
And, commercial PC purchases were still sluggish in Singapore, especially in the private sector, according to IDC’s Reuben Tan, who said, however, that “portable PC procurement was surprisingly strong for the polytechnic student purchasing program as well as at the IT Show in March, which gave the market a 20% sequential growth in portables."
According to IDC, the Hong Kong PC market was also one of the few countries with a strong showing in the first quarter of this year and, as expected, mini-notebooks were a key driver, along with channel stock up in preparation for the IT Expo during the Easter holiday period, as well as fulfilments in the government space, pushing the market to a 19% year-on-year growth.