Channel Players Seeing Strong 1Q Sales

The world may be facing uncertain economic times, but people still are buying computers. That's the conclusion to draw from research firm iSuppli's latest report on worldwide PC shipments. The study found global PC shipments rose 12.1 percent in Q1.

Channel players HP, Dell and Acer are dominating the market, which is being driven by growing demand for notebooks. HP's shipments grew a healthy 23 percent in the quarter, Dell's rose 20 percent and Acer beat out Lenovo for third-place ranking in shipments with a 10 perent increase. Acer improved its market-share position through the recent acquisition of Gateway.

The research firm predicts an increase of 10 or 11 percent this year in worldwide shipments, in part because lower prices are stimulating demand. Of course, this is a two-edged sword for the channel. Lower prices often mean lower profit, although channel players rsigned themselves long ago to PCs and notebooks becoming commodity items. On the other hand, the numbers suggest that businesses and consumers are still investing in new hardware, despite the economic pinch. That investment  ripples through the whole channel: software vendors, networking companies, distributors and the VARs and channel partners themselves.

Overseas markets seem stronger thean the U.S. right now, but the real point is that there's little indication from these numbers that the high-tech sector is falling off a cliff, despite the current economic storm.

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