Don’t be in a rush to abandon your PC OEM customer: A mountain-worth of semiconductor products are still going into personal computing equipment and workstations, according to research firm IC Insights .
While the most coveted design sockets these days are those headed for smartphones, digital music players, tablet devices (iPad and e-readers), and other portable but non-PC equipment, almost one third of total semiconductor shipment this year will have been purchased by OEMs for use in PCs as sales recovered strongly to a record high.
DRAM and other memory products are leading the surge. After suffering severe price declines over the prior two years, memory products have recovered nicely due to an increase in demand for mobile PCs. IC Insight noted that "despite three previous years of decline, PCs are still the largest end-use application for integrated circuits, accounting for about 31 percent of the IC industry's total revenues in 2010."
IC Insight's forecast through 2014 is even more mouthwatering as it shows demand for PCs climbing at a compounded annual growth rate of almost 11 percent to $101.2 billion, from an estimated $81.4 billion in 2010, up 34 percent from $60.7 billion last year. Mobile computers are driving the increase, according to the research firm, which also noted that the iPad from Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and other competing tablet devices have halted the rapid growth witnessed in demand for netbooks in 2008 and 2009.
"Inexpensive Internet-centric mini-notebooks were the darling of the portable PC market in 2008 and 2009, with annual unit shipments increasing by about 185% in each of those two years, but the fascination with downsized notebooks ended in 2010 after Apple introduced its touch-screen iPad and transformed the tablet-computer niche into a sensation in the larger consumer-PC marketplace," IC Insights said, adding it "now sees tablet computer shipments reaching 14 million in 2010, up from a little over 1 million in 2009 (excluding dedicated e-book readers, such as Amazon.com’s Kindle)."
The resurgent demand for PCs has been good for Dell Inc. , which reclaimed its title as the No. 2 global personal computer vendor in the second quarter and held on tightly to the position in the third quarter, according to iSuppli Corp.
"Dell’s third-quarter PC shipments rose by 9.3 percent compared to the same period in 2009," iSuppli said. "In contrast, No.3 Acer Inc. suffered a decline of 0.7 percent and No.1 HP experienced a 0.2 percent contraction."