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The Workstation Market Takes Another Sizeable Step Forward in Q4’09, says Jon Peddie Research

Posted: 03.01.10

TIBURON, Calif- March 1, 2010 -- Jon Peddie Research (JPR) reports robust results for the workstation and professional graphics markets in Q4'09, as the industry successfully plowed ahead, anxious to put the misery of late 2008 and early 2009 further behind. The multimedia and graphics research firm has completed its analysis of the workstation and professional graphics markets and reports that the quarter saw another solid round of gains, building off the upward trend started in Q3. All told, the industry shipped 716.9 thousand workstations in the fourth quarter, resulting in an 11.2% sequential increase.

Table 1 Total workstation market (worldwide, in K units) (Source: Jon Peddie Research)
Workstation shipments Q3CY08 Q4CY08 Q1CY09 Q2CY09 Q3CY09 Q4CY09
Total (K units) 854.2 764.3 576.7 602.1 644.6 716.9

Even better, workstation ASPs finally managed a modest, but very perceptible 3.6% uptick in Q4, a gain the firm traces in part to improved confidence and looser purse strings, and in part simply as the not-quite-equal reaction to the more dramatic deflation in prices seen in the immediate aftermath of the economic downturn. Healthier ASPs meant the industry got to enjoy the relatively rare event of seeing units outpaced by revenue, which rose an estimated 15.2% sequentially to $1.43 billion.

Dell manages to climb back up to parity with HP

In Q3'09, HP overtook Dell in workstation unit volume, staking its claim as the new workstation market leader. Clearly, Dell hadn't taken its demotion lightly, instead digging in its heels to raise its fourth quarter unit share back up 1.5 points, in the process moving back into a virtual dead heat with HP.

The professional graphics market unexpectedly hot in Q4'09

Simply put, the professional graphics market in the fourth quarter posted results significantly hotter than expected, with units (mobiles included) up 53.3% year-over-year and revenue (add-in cards only) close behind at 41.1%.

The market for professional graphics parallels the workstation market, with the former's performance often providing an effective leading indicator for the latter's. And that bodes well for workstations in 2010. Because if the numbers for workstations in Q1'10 look anything like those posted by professional graphics in Q4'09, they should exceed all but the most optimistic of OEMs' expectations.