PC channel told not to read into CPU spike
The channel has been warned not to expect a spike in third quarter PC sales despite an “unusual” rise in CPU shipments between April and June this year
The channel has been warned not to expect a spike in third quarter PC sales despite an “unusual” rise in CPU shipments between April and June this year.
High sales of microprocessors in the second quarter usually signal an improvement in sales of finished systems during the three months that follow.
However, analysis from research house IDC suggests that the unseasonal increase in CPU shipments during Q2 was driven by Intel and OEM inventory refreshes, rather than significant end-user demand for PCs.
During the second quarter, global chip volumes rose 10% sequentially compared with a decline the previous quarter, while shipments of Intel’s Atom processors for small PCs increased 34% over the same period.
Shane Rau, director of semiconductors at IDC’s personal computing division, explained: “The percentage of Intel's revenue earned in Asia-Pacific grew from 51% in the first quarter to 55% in the second quarter. This fact, combined with the significant sequential 'snap-back' rise in Intel's overall processor shipments—particularly Atom shipments—while AMD's overall shipments were about flat, indicate that the PC processor market didn't recover in 2Q09. Instead, the market balanced out due to Intel driving Atom processors into ODMs who manufacture the systems, particularly in China and Taiwan."
Intel still commands close to 80% of the global CPU market, with AMD accounting for almost all of the rest apart from a tiny portion owned by manufacturers such as VIA Technologies.
Rau says any suggestion that the recent rise CPU volumes are a precursor to a rebound in flagging PC sales is misguided.
"Going forward, IDC believes that ODMs and OEMs have balanced out their inventories and so we can't rely on inventory replenishment to drive market improvements,” he said. “Instead, we can only rely on what actual end demand really is, and that means we have to be cautious not to be over-exuberant that, say, the traditional back-to-school PC buying season will materialise into a bullish second half. It won't."