PC market sluggish in first quarter

The PC market remained sluggish in the first quarter of 2002 and this is expected to continue due to the reluctance to spend by...

The PC market remained sluggish in the first quarter of 2002 and this is expected to continue due to the reluctance to spend by enterprise customers, according to Dataquest.

Worldwide PC shipments, which include laptops, desktops and PC servers, totalled 32.7 million for the first quarter. In the US, they totalled 11.1 million. The global growth rate was flat compared to the same period a year earlier, while it improved by 2.3% in the US, Dataquest said.

Because the slight growth in the US came after a weak 2001, "both the US and worldwide markets remain sluggish", said Charles Smulders, a Dataquest vice-president.

"At best, these number suggest the market is returning to more normal seasonal growth patterns," he said. But he added that there is "little evidence" of return to growth in purchases by large enterprises, meaning that the "market outlook for 2002 remains highly uncertain".

Dell Computer was the only major vendor to see positive numbers worldwide, growing 13.7%. In the US alone, Dell saw increased growth of 16.2%, while Hewlett-Packard and IBM each saw growth of less than 1%. Dell's US market share increased to 26%, making it bigger than the next two PC makers, HP (9.8%) and Compaq Computer (11.5%) combined.

Worldwide PC shipments should grow by 4% throughout 2002 if a return to buying in the fourth quarter occurs, Smulders added. "Global economic prospects appear to have improved significantly over the first quarter", making a fourth-quarter upsurge more likely, he said.

Smulders added the year is difficult to predict because "large corporations continue to adopt a wait-and-see attitude to IT spending".

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