PC Forecast Lowered, Laptop Sales Up

With confidence in the economy still shaky, businesses and consumers are making due with old Dells and getting by with last year’s Gateways, according to IDC.

Because of this wariness, the Framingham, Mass., market researcher has lowered its worldwide PC sales projections for 2002 and 2003.

Shipments will hit 135.5 million, on growth of 1.1 percent this year, with growth of 8.4 percent predicted for next year. In June, IDC believed the market would grow 4.7 percent in 2002 and 11.1 percent in 2003.

“The momentum we saw coming into the second quarter has all but disappeared as businesses continue to postpone PC investments and consumer spending has slowed,” said Loren Loverde, director of IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.

Consumers, who account for about a third of all new PC purchases, could bolster the numbers in the last four months of the year, but indications show they too are exercising caution.

Two bright spots are the public sector and small businesses, which are “spending for the moment.” Loverde said. A significant recovery, however, won’t occur until until both consumer and business demand picks up and it may be “the middle of next year before that happens.”

Roger Kay, director of client computing at IDC, said the sluggishness of the corporate market can be attributed to several factors: higher costs of capital because of poor stock performance and layoffs and hiring freezes.

“Saturation is also increasingly a factor, as the mature U.S. market swings over more fully to a replacement model,” Kay said. “To remain viable, vendors will have to adapt their distribution strategies to these new realities.”

Western Europe’s market continues to be slow in emerging from its economic doldrums. The Japanese market came close to hitting its IDC’s predictions in the second quarter, although a lack of confidence in the banking sector could hurt future sales.

Markets such as China, Australia, and India will keep regional growth above 10 percent for 2002.

While the overall PC market may be suffering, laptops are gaining popularity, according to Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner, Inc., as they forecast strong growth in the mobile PC market.

Dataquest found that the number of worldwide mobile PC shipments totaled 6.9 million units in the second quarter of 2002, a 6.1 percent increase from the second quarter of 2001 when shipments totaled 6.5 million units. Comparatively, Dataquest’s research indicated that worldwide PC shipments declined 1 percent in the second quarter of 2002 compared to the second quarter of last year.

Preliminary Worldwide Mobile PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2Q02 (Thousands of Units)
Company 2Q02 Shipments 2Q02 Market Share 2Q01 Shipments 2Q01 Market Share Growth
Dell 1,025 14.9% 926 14.2% 10.6%
Hewlett-Packard 1,012 14.7% 1,016 15.6% -0.4%
Toshiba 885 12.8% 794 12.2% 11.4%
IBM 737 10.7% 733 11.3% 0.6%
Sony 489 7.1% 465 7.1% 5.2%
Others 2,753 39.9% 2,572 39.5% 7.0%
Total Market 6,901 100.0% 6,506 100.0% 6.1%
Note: Hewlett-Packard and Compaq are reported as one company.
Source: Gartner Dataquest (August 2002)

“Continuing growth in mobile PCs provides some good news in a worldwide PC market that overall remains weak,” said Charles Smulders, vice president of Gartner Dataquest’s Computing Platforms Worldwide group. “The mobile PC market grew in most regions except for Japan and Latin America. The U.S. mobile PC market grew 9.3 percent year over year, supported by the beginning of back-to-school purchases, as well as orders from educational institutions.”

Toshiba’s double-digit growth was attributed to significant increases in shipments both in the United States and Western Europe. IBM showed modest growth in the United States and Western Europe. Sony grew substantially in Western Europe, while it showed softness in the U.S. market.

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