IDC: Global PC Sales Up, US Weakens

Strong sales of portable PCs and demand in regions outside the US will spur global personal computer shipments to 40.15 million units in the fourth quarter of this year, according to a revised forecast from market researcher International Data Corp (IDC).

Revised forecasts from IDC also predict overall PC shipment growth to drop to 16.6 percent globally for 2001, down from the 18.8 percent expected for this year. Global growth is forecast to continue to slow long term because the business and consumer markets are becoming saturated and growth in emerging markets is becoming more moderate.

On a quarterly basis, the unit shipment forecast of 40.15 million amounts to 19.6 percent growth compared to the fourth quarter of 1999 and 19.8 percent sequential growth compared to the third quarter of this year. PC demand from US consumers was robust through last quarter, but appears to be weakening this quarter, according to IDC, which predicts that situation won't change for two or three quarters.

However, the US commercial market is showing signs of improvement because the upgrade cycle for companies moving to Microsoft 's Windows 2000 operating system has gotten under way and PCs bought in 1997 and 1998 for 2000 date compliance are nearing the end of their life cycles, IDC said. As such, the researcher has revised its US fourth-quarter unit growth forecast to 15.8 percent for year on year and 11 percent for sequential quarterly growth.

The situation is reversed in Western Europe, where corporate demand is sluggish while consumer sales are strong. Because of that, IDC lowered its fourth-quarter expectations for shipments in that region and now forecasts shipment growth of 15.1 percent year on year, revising its forecast down from its earlier estimate of 19 percent growth.

While other regions have market segments in various states of flux, Asia Pacific, excluding Japan, is strong in both consumer and commercial demand. That region beat IDC expectations by 6.5 percentage points with growth of 42.7 percent year on year for the third quarter. The healthy scenario is expected to continue with an expected fourth-quarter shipment growth of 33.4 percent, compared to the year-ago quarter.

Local vendor success, a strong portables market and healthy consumer demand were cited by IDC as contributing to the rosy market picture there.

Although Japan experienced a third quarter that was slower than forecast, the fourth quarter should be solid, with IDC projecting PC unit shipment growth of 29.4 percent year on year.

Portables were hot everywhere. Global shipments were more than 33 percent above a year ago for the third quarter with the U.S., Western Europe and the Asia-Pacific all exceeding forecasts. IDC, which is based in Framingham, Massachusetts, expects fourth-quarter shipment growth of nearly 32 percent for the fourth quarter of this year.

As for vendors and third-quarter performance, the top five globally remained the same compared to the 1999 third quarter: Compaq Computer , Dell Computer Hewlett-Packard , IBM and Fujitsu Siemens Computers .

Compaq maintained 14 percent of market share, up from the 13.7 percent posted in the third quarter of last year. The company shipped 4.681 million units globally. Dell followed with 11.6 percent market share with 3.873 million units shipped. Dell had 11.5 percent market share in the third quarter of last year.

HP posted the most impressive gain with 40.5 percent market growth. The company shipped 2.619 million units globally for 7.8 percent of the market, compared to 6.6 percent in the third quarter of last year.

Fujitsu Siemens had a slight drop in market share to 4.8 percent, compared to 5.8 percent in the 1999 third quarter. The company shipped 1.62 million machines globally.

All other vendors combined held 54.5 percent of the global market, up 19.4 percent compared to the 1999 third quarter with 18.282 million global shipments in the same quarter this year.

The lineup of the top five U.S. vendors also remained unchanged over the third quarter of last year. Dell, Compaq, HP, Gateway and IBM comprised the US list.

Dell topped the list with 19.7 percent of market share, up from the 18.1 percent share posted in the third quarter of last year. Dell shipped 2.578 million units in the third quarter of this year.

Compaq followed with 17.3 percent of the market, compared to 15.4 percent in the third quarter of last year. Compaq shipped 2.258 million units in the third quarter. HP shipped 1.444 million units for 11.1 percent market share, compared to 8.4 percent in the third quarter of 1999. HP showed the most impressive market share gains with 46.7 percent growth.

Gateway held on to 8.9 percent of the market with 1.158 million units shipped, compared to its 9.2 percent share in the third quarter of last year. IBM lost ground, with growth down 19.7 percent. The company shipped 739,000 units for 5.7 percent market share, down from 7.9 percent in the third quarter of last year.

All other vendors accounted for 37.4 percent of the U.S. market with 4.884 million units shipped, up 1.7 percent compared to the 1999 third quarter, according to IDC, which is owned by International Data Group , the parent company of the IDG News Service.

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