Replacement PC purchases have remained the key engine of growth for the industry as worldwide PC shipments totalled 43 million units in the second quarter of 2004.
This is a 13.3% increase over the same period last year, according to preliminary results from consultancy Gartner.
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"The PC market performed in line with expectations during the second quarter of 2004, exhibiting typical seasonal user demand patterns,” said Charles Smulders, vice-president of Gartner's Computing Platforms Worldwide group.
"The professional market is crucial to the second quarter’s overall results. While early software and storage segment results have shown some weakness relative to industry expectations, the professional PC market was on track,” he said.
Dell retained its first position in both the worldwide and US PC markets in the quarter, experiencing double-digit growth across all regions. Due to the typical second-quarter performance, Dell's corporate and public sector business grew faster than the home market.
Last year Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Fujitsu Siemens, Acer and others made total shipments of 37,774 million. This year the same companies had total shipments of 42,802 million units.
HP's worldwide year-on-year growth was slightly above industry average, as it showed the strongest growth in the Asia/Pacific, region, including Japan.
An internal reorganisation at HP during the quarter is likely to have had some impact on the company's performance.
In the US, PC shipments totalled 14 million units in the second quarter of 2004, an 11.4% increase from the same period last year.
Gartner analysts say that the US PC industry's growth was attributed to healthy sales in the professional market.
Preliminary US PC suplliers unit shipment estimates for this year indicate that Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Gateway, IBM, Apple. and other US-based suppliers had experienced an annual growth of 5.7%.
The companies exported 14,551 million shipments in 2004. In 2003 they shipped 13,06 million units.
On a regional basis, the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region experienced a PC shipment increase of 15.5% in the second quarter.
All countries in the Asia/Pacific region, with the exception of South Korea, are expected to show positive year-on-year growth performance this quarter.
The PC market in Japan experienced a slight increase in shipments; however, the market performed below forecast expectations because of slower-than-expected sales in the home market.
Preliminary Latin American PC shipment results for the second quarter of 2004 show the region experienced a shipment increase of more than 25%.
The consumer segment continued to grow in the region as desktop prices, particularly for generic machines, continued to decline.
Written by Computing SA staff