AMD Ups Intel in Retail Sales

AMD reportedly scored a market top of Intel last month, earning the title of leading supplier of processors for the U.S. retail PC market in October, according to Current Analysis.

The research firm declared that AMD processors powered 49.8 percent of desktop and notebook computers sold in the U.S. retail market last month. AMD’s near-half share of the market surpassed even giant Intel’s retail take, which accounted for 48.5 percent of the market.

“This certainly isn’t challenging Intel’s retail dominance,” Current Analysis senior analyst Toni DuBoise told TechNewsWorld. “What’s most significant is that in a market where AMD is able to compete with Intel, it is doing well, extremely well.”

How They Did It

Although Current Analysis points out Intel’s “solid grasp on the number one spot” — which is credited to direct sales with Dell — analysts also pointed to AMD’s growing strength in both desktops and laptops.

DuBoise said AMD’s retail success last month was characterized by two factors: one, the ability to take advantage of a head start on media center PCs, where AMD earned 58 percent of overall retail sales; and two, the value proposition AMD continues to provide with its Sempron and Turion processors.

The analyst explained that, while AMD does not stand much chance of challenging Intel in commercial or direct sales markets because of Dell’s devotion to Intel, AMD still managed to top Intel in a space in which the two squared off more evenly.

“What this does is buy AMD some mind share, in that, where it can compete head to head with Intel, it can do so quite well,” she said.

Heating Up for Holidays

Calling October the transition between back-to-school sales and winter holiday shopping, Current Analysis predicted a holiday season marked by heated competition between the vendors.

“AMD did the unthinkable by surpassing Intel in October,” said a statement from the firm’s director of research, Matt Sargent. “Continuing to hold this lead in the holiday season would be a colossal win for the company.”

However, DuBoise said, even with expected bargain AMD offerings from Wal-Mart and other retailers, Intel is also expected to strike back.

“Will this remain unanswered? Absolutely not,” she said. “Intel will come back with design wins and aggressively-priced notebooks. Intel is going to be very aggressive in the low-end notebook space. We expect an intense battle this holiday season.”

Position and Profits

While Current Analysis found AMD grew its share of both the retail desktop and notebook markets, the chip challenger’s revenue share of retail PC sales fell short of Intel’s, largely because of the lower selling price of AMD chips.

Mercury Research President Dean McCarron told TechNewsWorld that the Current Analysis findings echo other indicators of AMD’s growth, which is likely to continue during the last two months of the year.

“I would expect to see a fairly consistent picture with what we saw for October,” he said, referring also to the transition from desktops to notebooks as a factor.

McCarron also stressed, however, that the retail sales do not represent the larger market shares of AMD and Intel, which are dominated by Dell and other direct sales.

“You have to keep in mind that AMD is much more consumer-oriented,” he said. “AMD is going to have a fairly strong retail presence.”

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