SMEs drive record PC sales growth

Analyst IDC said the worldwide PC market remained strong in the fourth quarter of 2004 with growth of 13.7% compared with the...

Analyst IDC said the worldwide PC market remained strong in the fourth quarter of 2004 with growth of 13.7% compared with the same quarter in 2003.

This growth was helped by strong demand in the small and medium business segments and impressive demand across Europe.

Total shipments rose to 51.5 million units for the quarter, marking the seventh consecutive quarter of double-digit growth in worldwide PC shipments and beating IDC projections of 13% growth.

Shipments for all of 2004 reached 177.5 million on growth of 14.7% on the previous year. Total shipments in 2004 were more than 26% over volumes in 2000. IDC expects growth of roughly 10% in 2005 before shipment growth then slows to single digits.

"Business demand and growth in key regions such as Europe continue to drive the market," said Loren Loverde, director of IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.

"Although we saw a seasonal rise in consumer shipments, particularly in Europe, business remains a larger market and has been growing faster since mid-2004. Ongoing PC replacements and new investment should continue to drive commercial growth at least through the end of 2005."

Following another quarter of strong growth, Dell is now the market leader (17% of the market), said IDC. It once again leads HP, which captured16% of the market. Dell ceded the top spot to HP in the fourth quarter of 2002 and in 2003 following HP's merger with Compaq.

Analyst Gartner has brought out its own figures, which are roughly in line with IDC’s. Gartner said strong demand was mainly driven by rapidly increasing laptop sales.

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