PDA Sales Predict Coming of Wireless Web

Sales of personal digital assistants (PDAs) through retail, mail order, and corporate reseller channels for the first six months of 2000 approximated sales for all of 1999, suggesting PDAs sales will double from 1999 to 2000, according to The NPD Group, Inc.

NPD INTELECT market tracking found that June 2000 unit sales of PDAs were up 190 percent compared to June of 1999. The PDA category finished 1999 with total unit sales of 1.3 million in the US. Total dollars sales reached $436.5 million in 1999, while in the first half of 2000 total dollar sales approached $406.9 million.

The Palm series continues to be the leader in brand share, according to NPD INTELECT, with 65 percent market share in June 2000. It is followed by Handspring (which didn’t existin June of 1999) at 21 percent, which has taken some market share from Palm and Casio, and knocked Everex and Philips out of the top five.

The average price for a PDA dropped from $350 in June of 1999 to $324 in June of 2000, acccording to NPD, which also found that strong demand for PDAs has stabilized prices, unlike other categories where falling prices and increased demand are closely tied. Also boding well for strong PDA growth is a plethora of products designed to appeal to new audiences.

Top Selling PDA Brands
June 1999 June 2000
Brand Market
Brand Market
Palm 74.8% Palm 65.4%
Casio 13.5% Handspring 21.6%
Hewlett-Packard 3.1% Casio 4.4%
Philips 2.9% Hewlett-Packard 3.3%
Everex 1.5% NEC 2.0%

“Initially PDA products were targeted to professionals, tech-savvy consumers, and men,” said Lisa Schmidt, NPD INTELECT manager of technology products. “Today companies such as Handspring with its colorful Visors, Palm with its affordable M series ($150) and new Caudia Schiffer Palm, and Sony with its upcoming PDA line should open up the largely untapped, young consumer, and female market. And with the anticipated holiday season, year-end sales should be very robust indeed.”

This doesn’t mean the early market for PDA users has been left behind. According to a survey of 1,047 members of internet.com’s technology-savvy Technology Advisory Panel, 34 percent of the respondents currently own a Web-enabled PDA device, and 39 percent plan on buying one within the year. Twenty-two percent own both a PDA and a cell phone, and 2 percent own a PDA, a cell phone, and a pager.

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