updated 03:45 pm EDT, Wed April 12, 2006
Retail PC sales grow
Retail sales data show that PC manufacturers experienced strong year-over-year growth during the first quarter of this year, according to new U.S. retail sales data. However, one analyst says that Apple's growth, which may be flat year-over-year, has been limited by its transition to Intel-based processors, which the company announced last June and began in January. CNNMoney.com reports that "while that strong growth may imply that computer manufacturers are on track to continue that growth the rest of the year, it remains to be seen whether Microsoft's delay of the consumer version of its highly anticipated Windows Vista operating system will derail that growth, analysts say." The data, which does not include direct, internet or corporate sales, shows that No. 2 PC maker Hewlett Packard sold about 605,000 PCs at U.S. retail outlets in the first quarter, a 28.5 percent increase from the same quarter a year ago.
Apple, according to Goldman Sachs, may only ship 1 million Macs in the first quarter because of a slow ramp in MacBook Pro production and slow sales of its iBook line as consumers waited for the new Intel-based version of the consumer laptop.
The retail PC data did not include data from PC giant Dell, a direct seller and from Apple's retail stores.
Goldman also estimated that iPod sales will drop off sharply from last quarter's record 14 million units sold, according to the report. The analysts estimate that Apple shipped 9.25 million iPods this quarter, suffering from higher-than-expected post-holiday decline.
Laptop sales grow as prices drop
Bolstering data by IDC, the report also showed that laptop sales growth outpaced the desktop market, but laptop prices were falling more quickly. In the first quarter laptop sales grew 43.6 percent over the previous year, while first quarter desktop sales grew by only 16.3 percent. The average sale price for laptops was $984.
"Price point has a lot to do with it," Samir Bhavnani, principal analyst in the mobile computing and electronics group at Current Analysis, told CNNMoney.com. "The average selling price of notebooks has fallen at a quicker rate" than that of desktops, he added, noting that from last year's first quarter to this year's first quarter, the average selling price of notebooks fell 20 percent, down to $984, breaking the $1,000 psychological barrier.