PC Shipments Up, Vendors Waiting for Upgrade Cycles

Worldwide PC shipments totaled close to 34 million units in the third quarter of 2000, according to both International Data Corp. (IDC) and Dataquest.

IDC found Q3 PC sales jumped 18.3 percent compared to the third quarter of 1999 to 33.3 million units in 2000. Sales for the quarter were boosted by a strong consumer market, high growth in the Asian markets, and high demand for portable PCs.

PC market growth rates in the US, and other mature markets such as Europe and Canada, grew at rates slower than the worldwide average.

Dataquest says worldwide PC shipments surpassed 33.9 million units in Q3 2000, and increase of 15.2 percent over the same period last year. Dataquest’s research also saw signs of market saturation in the US and Europe, and found that many manufacturers are waiting for the next PC upgrade cycle.

“The expectation is that the home market will see some signs of replacement sales in the fourth quarter of 2000, but the corporate upgrade cycle will not gain momentum until 2001,” said Charles Smulders, principal analyst for Dataquest’s Personal Computers Worldwide program. “The potential size of that upgrade expected in 2001 is significant in the United States compared with 2000, even without Windows 2000 as a driver. A major upgrade cycle in both the European professional and home markets is also expected in 2001.”

Dataquest analysts also said the growth rates in the mid-teens could be misleading, and that the higher shipment numbers from some primarily indirect vendors may point to potential Q4 problems.

“We suspect these relatively strong numbers in the third quarter reflect a buildup of channel inventory, and we do not believe the market can support the kind of growth these numbers would indicate,” Smulders said. “The fourth quarter could show slower unit growth, as upgrade cycles are deferred into 2001, and no revenue growth as vendors jockey to keep supply lines clear.”

In the US PC market, five of the top six vendors had growth rates above the industry average. Dell, while experiencing a good quarter by industry standards, didn’t live up to its own standards. Compaq saw an increase in direct sales, as it works to consolidate its PC lines in order to reduce costs and increase customer value.

“It’s important to recognize that slow growth in the developed regions does not diminish the value of the PC market,” Smulders said. “We expect the PC shipments exceed 40 million units on a worldwide basis in the fourth quarter alone. However, vendors must build share and revenue in other markets and geographical areas if they are to continue to return financial results to stockholder expectations.”

Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipments
Q3 2000, Thousands of Units
Company Q3 2000 Q3 1999 Growth (%)
Shipments Market
Share (%)
Shipments Market
Share (%)
Compaq 4,449 13.1 3,908 13.3 13.9
Dell 3,800 11.2 3,123 10.6 21.7
Hewlett-Packard 2,615 7.7 1,887 6.4 38.6
IBM 2,458 7.2 2,259 7.7 8.8
NEC 1,577 4.6 1,513 5.1 4.3
Gateway 1,432 4.2 1,258 4.3 13.8
Others 17,600 51.9 15,512 52.7 13.5
33,931 100.0 29,460 100.0 15.2
Note: Includes desk-based PCs, mobile PCs and PC servers
Source: Dataquest

The PCs hold on US consumers as a means of reaching the Internet may soon be over. According to the report “Information Appliances and Pervasive Net Access” by Parks Associates, information appliances will outship PCs in the US as early as 2001.

Information appliances are defined as relatively low-cost, easy-to-use, reliable, special-purpose devices that obtain, present, capture, report, and/or stores and manages various types of information in order to bring the benefits of the Internet to consumers. They include Internet-connected TVs, consumer network computers, Web tablets, email only devices, screen phones, Internet game consoles, handhelds/PDAs, Internet-enabled mobile phones, and automated telematics systems.

According to the research, 22 million in-home information appliances (excluding Internet-enabled phones and telematics systems) will ship in the US in 2001, compared to 18 million home PCs in the same year. By the end of 2005, Parks Associates forecasts revenues from all information appliances to reach $33.7 billion.

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