Global PC shipments declined more than anticipated during this year's first quarter as economic woes caught up with the industry. Research firm iSuppli reported figures that are lower than they've ever recorded. Sales sunk to 66.5 million units in the first quarter of 2009, an 8.1% decrease from 72.3 million in the year ago quarter, and 77.6 million in the closing quarter of 2008. Eating most of the blame, the desktop sector saw a 23% drop in unit sales from 2008’s opening quarter, whereas notebook shipments rose 10%.

Meanwhile, the industry’s top five PC manufacturer list remained unchanged. With a market share of 19.7% and moving 13 million units, HP matched its sales from last year. Dell saw an 18.7% drop in units sold at 8.8 million PCs; the company now holds about 13.2% of the market. The other three positions were held by Acer, Lenovo and Toshiba with market shares of 11.1%, 6.7% and 5.2%, respectively. In terms of growth among the top five OEMs, Toshiba took the cake with shipments rising by 13.5%.

It’s no secret that netbooks are increasingly popular and their sales are expected to reflect such in 2009. iSuppli is predicting that the mini-notebooks will be attributed with 14% of global laptop sales this year – a 5% improvement over 2008.