The Canadian PC market experienced its strongest quarter of the previous eight, in the final quarter of 2004. Total shipments, including desktops, notebooks and servers, reached an estimated 1,118,300 units, which indicated a sequential increase of six per
cent and an annually growth of 10 per cent. Contributing to the rise in activity was a strong performance on behalf of the global tier two vendors, especially Acer and Toshiba. Relying on strong partnerships with resellers and the retail channel, both vendors were able to capitalize on market opportunities. The system integrator channel was also busy in Q4, and finished with 39 per cent of total shipments. Intel and AMD both remain committed to the channel, bringing new technology and new tools to the integrator community to help bolster demand.
Desktops continued to represent the bulk of PC shipments, accounting for 71 per cent of activity. Notebooks were 24 per cent and servers were four per cent. Tier one global vendors — Dell, IBM and HP — accounted for 44 per cent of total unit volume. Tier two vendors, including Toshiba, Fujitsu and Acer, comprised 16 per cent of activity.
A shift occurred in the fourth quarter PC market. The globally recognized tier one vendors lost a collective three per cent of PC shipments, while the tier two vendors, primarily led by Acer, Toshiba and Fujitsu, experienced a combined 30 per cent increase in shipment activity. Demand for white box PC product grew slightly, with a four per cent increase in annual activity. To no surprise it was the same growth rate experienced by the overall PC market.
If the trend of purchasers opting for tier two vendors continues throughout 2005, the future bodes well for the white box market. The shift away from globally recognized tier one vendors could indicate a shift in the importance of brand preference and recognition. Often discussed in the industry is the notion of the “”commoditization”” of the PC market. A shift away from tier one brand names would further cement this trend, and help bolster shipments for Canadian-designed and assembled PCs. Canadian White Box PC Shipments by Product Segment Notebook white box PC shipments picked up slight steam over the desktop market in the final quarter of 2004. Overall, however, for 2004, desktop continued to account for the bulk of PC shipments and finished with 90 per cent of the volume. This past year was the first year of intensified interest in the white book market, on behalf of component and PC vendors. As a result, the industry was still in the early adopter phase. Stronger interest is expected in 2005.