IDC Reports "Weak" Processor Shipments in Q4 2010

Paul Lilly

Worldwide PC processor shipments fell flat year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2010, yet still managed double digit growth for the full year, according to the latest figures from International Data Corporation (IDC). The research firm reports that microprocessor shipments grew 17.1 percent for the full year compared to 2009, driving revenue up 26.7 percent to $36.3 billion. It did this despite a lethargic fourth quarter that barely budged compared to both 3Q10 (0.04 percent quarter-over-quarter) and to 4Q09 (-.21 percent year-over-year).

"The fourth quarter was weak and out of synch with normal seasonal patterns in terms of unit shipments," said Shane Rau , director of Semiconductors: Personal Computing research at IDC. "The first half of the year turned out to be the better half of the year. However, looking back at the whole year 2010, it's clear that the ongoing shift to mobile processors, combined with a shift back towards high-performance mobile processors, as opposed to Atom processors for netbooks, drove a significant rise in overall processor average selling prices."

Mobile processor shipments continue to gain, growing 26.2 percent in 2010 to take a majority share of the processor market. According to IDC, mobile chips accounted for 54.1 percent of all processors at the end of 2010, compared to 50.2 percent in 2009. Intel got to reap most of the reward, as the world's largest PC chip maker dominates the mobile market with an 86.4 percent share.

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