Small growth in graphics card market in Q1

Graphics card shipments up slightly from Q4 2010, gap with PC shipments may indicate inventory overstock

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Small growth in graphics card market in Q1 Shipments of add-in graphics boards grew 1% from Q4 2010 to Q4 2011.
By  Mark Sutton Published  June 21, 2011

The global market for graphics cards (add-in boards) showed minor growth in Q1 2011, according to specialist graphics and multimedia analyst company Jon Peddie Research (JPR).

Shipments of graphics cards for Q1 reached 19.03 million units, up 1% from 18.84 million units in the last quarter of 2010, although they did not exceed shipment levels from the same quarter last year.

For the full year, JPR now forecasts that the total market will be worth $19.8 billion, down 4.5% from 2010. The company revised this forecast downwards from its previously given figure, as its says that although unit shipments will be up, there is a gradual decline in average selling price.

The company said that shipments in Q1 were in line with normal market trends with regard to seasonality in the quarter, but was lower year-to-year than 2010. The modest growth from Q4 2010 to Q1 2011 should still be seen as positive indicateor, however, as Q4 2010 did not conform to the normal seasonal cycle, but was down slightly compared to previous years.

In terms of units shipped, nVidia was the market leader in Q1, with 59.12% market share. nVidia unit shipments decreased by 2% from Q4, and its market share decline by 2.71%, but the company continued to lead, boosted by double attach (customers buying additional cards to upgrade PCs that already have a GPU), and GPU-compute/CUDA sales.

AMD saw both market share and shipment volumes increase in the quarter, up 4.37% and 5.7% respectively from Q4 2010, giving it a total of 40.46% market share. On a year-to-year basis AMD increased its market share by 16.8%.

JPR said that the market is driven at the high end by gamer enthusiasts, which only account for around nine million units shipped per year, but with a spend of $300 on a card, while the volume of the market comes from performance and mainstream segments.

In the overall graphics processor market, including embedded and integrated graphics processors, the market grew by in 10.3% in Q1 2011, to 128 million units. JPR warned that this is both significantly above the ten year average for Q1, which typically shows shipments falling by 4%, and also shows a large gap with a 5.4% drop in PC shipments from Q4 2010 to Q1 2011, suggesting that the increase in graphic processor shipments could be down to inventory build-up, which may have a negative impact in Q2.

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