Laptop shipments rose by nearly 40% in the quarter compared with the same period last year to reach 38.6 million units, according to iSuppli Corp. Desktop shipments, on the other hand, dropped by 1.3% to 38.5 million units.
The watershed event was expected, given that laptop shipments have been increasing by double digits for some time, while desktops have been in the low single digits.
"However, this marks a major event in the PC market because it marks the start of the age of the notebook," iSuppli analyst Matthew Wilkins said in a statement. "The notebook PC is no longer a tool only for the business market or a computer for the well-off consumer; it's now a computer for everyman."
While the scale of the global economic downturn became apparent in the third quarter, the impact had yet to be felt in the worldwide PC market, which saw an overall increase of 15.4% to 79 million units. ISuppli had predicted a 12% growth rate.