PC Market Sees Sunny Days Ahead

Unit volume in the worldwide PC market in the first quarter of 2000 is expected to grow 20 percent year over year, according to forecast data released by International Data Corp. (IDC). With the traditionally slower first quarter in full swing, PC shipments are expected to decline 9 percent from Q4 1999.

The ongoing pattern of strong global consumer demand continues, but will fall below the levels established during the seasonally high fourth quarter. Commercial market slowness tied to Y2K concerns has largely faded, yielding flat sequential volume in a quarter in which demand typically drops from the prior quarter.

“With Y2K fears largely over and the introduction of Microsoft Windows 2000, businesses will start picking up the pace of upgrades,” said John Brown, research director of IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. “IDC expects the commercial market to show more robust growth this year than last, starting with a pickup in demand this quarter.”

Asia/Pacific and Japan will lead the way in PC sales for the quarter with 32 percent growth each over Q1 1999. Both Asia/Pacific and Japan will continue to benefit from strong consumer demand as price points decline and interest in new desktop designs increase; consumer growth will top 68 percent and 45 percent in the regions, respectively.

In the United States, IDC expects Q1 growth to reach 20 percent, slightly benefiting from the easing of last quarter’s tight supply of chips and memory, as held-over demand will be met. Western Europe Q1 year-over-year unit growth is pegged at 10.9 percent, with sequential volumes declining 22 percent as retail competition and Internet demand will drive consumer sales.

According to IDC, the key to vendor growth this quarter is related to the strategic alignment with growing consumer and small business segments. In addition, positioning in the US and Asia/Pacific markets will be especially important. Finally, IDC found solid Internet strategies and the ability to deliver portable PCs in volume will also be keys to growth.

Top Five Vendors Worldwide PC Shipments, 1999
Vendor 1999
1. Compaq 15,761 13.9% 13,277 14.5% 19%
2. Dell 11,890 10.5% 7,744 8.5% 53%
3. IBM 9,264 8.2% 7,954 8.7% 16%
4. Hewlett-Packard 7,594 6.7% 5,741 6.3% 32%
5. Fujitsu Siemens 6,162 5.5% 4,894 5.3% 26%
Others 62,422 55.2% 52,012 56.8% 20%
All Vendors 113,092 100.0% 91,652 100.0% 23%
Source: IDC
Shipments are branded factory shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors. Data for all vendors are reported for calendar periods.
Data for NEC/PBNEC includes shipments for Packard Bell, NEC, NEC Japan, NEC China, and ZDS.
Data for Compaq shipments include Digital Equipment shipments; Data for Acer includes Texas Instruments.
Data for Fujitsu Siemens shipments include Fujitsu and Siemens shipments.

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