PC Growth Strong in '99, Dell Beats Compaq in U.S.

LONDON (01/24/2000) - Fears about the year 2000 computer problem notwithstanding, the worldwide PC market in terms of units shipped grew over 20 percent in 1999 compared to 1998, according to data released today by market research firms International Data Corp. (IDC) and Dataquest Inc.

IDC put growth at 23.3 percent, bringing the total number of units shipped in the year to 112.7 million, while Dataquest put the increase at 21.7 percent, to 113.5 million units.

A recovery in Asia helped buoy overall growth, IDC specified.

Both IDC and Dataquest agreed that Compaq Computer Corp. was the largest PC company in the world by a wide margin, in terms of number of units shipped. It was followed by Dell Computer Corp., IBM Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and the combined NEC Corp. and Packard-Bell NEC Corp.

Out of the top five companies, Packard-Bell NEC was the only not to post double digit growth over the previous year; instead, it posted less than a 1 percent increase, according to IDC.

Dell experienced growth of over 50 percent year-over-year, flying past IBM, which experienced only 17 percent growth, to take over the second place spot, according to IDC.

In the U.S., Dell Computer Corp. beat Compaq out of the top spot it held in 1998, according to both IDC and Dataquest. Dell, with 16.6 percent market share, edged out Compaq, with 16 percent market share, IDC specified. Gateway, Hewlett-Packard and IBM held the remaining three spots in the U.S. market, according to both IDC and Dataquest. Hewlett-Packard managed over 40 percent growth in the U.S. market during the year, according to IDC, knocking IBM to the bottom of the big five.

Overall, Dataquest put U.S. shipments at 43.8 million units, while IDC put the total at 45.1 million units.

According to IDC, the year was strong because of a complete turnaround by Asian markets after a "dismal" 1998, as well as low prices. In Western Europe, the market grew because of a strong desire on the part of users to be on the Internet, and the "Y2K effect" was offset by strong demand by small and medium-size enterprises in the commercial sector.

"The Asian market really bottomed out in '98, then came back strong, while Europe and the U.S. continued to show very good performance," Bruce Stephen, Framingham-based group vice president of worldwide PC research for IDC said.

"The pattern was established very early in the year, based on consumer demand and the 'nearly-free-PC' phenomenon taking hold in the U.S. and spreading globally," Stephen said. "The current outlook for 2000 says about 18 percent, which is still a great figure," he added.

Dataquest said that Y2K fears only slowed market growth by 2 percent in the fourth quarter of the year. Dataquest also said that growth in 2000 will probably slow by about 4 percentage points compared to 1999, depending on how well the industry can convince customers to replace their old PCs.

Dataquest, owned by Gartner Group Inc. and located in Stamford, Connecticut, can be contacted at +1 203-964-0096, or at http://www.dataquest.com/. IDC, in Framingham, Massachusetts, can be reached at +1-508-872-8200 or at http://www.idc.com/.

(International Data Corp. is owned by International Data Group, the parent company of IDG News Service.)

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