Volume shipments of PCs grew by a surprising 20.5 per cent in the first quarter to nearly 6.9 million units compared with the same period a year ago, due to good performance in most European countries.
High growth rates were achieved through soaring demand for consumer and professional desktop PCs, fuelled by falling prices and bargain offers.
Qualitative findings suggest many vendors' and resellers' perception of this quarter was not favourable. High unit sales led to high channel inventories, while with average year-on-year price drops of 19.4 per cent for European PC desktops, the falling prices and high shipments in the lower end of the PC market meant less than satisfactory revenue growth for many vendors and resellers.
In terms of PC units shipped, performance in Europe's three largest markets stayed healthy. France remained the leading market in terms of growth, achieving a year-on-year rate of 23.1 per cent, followed by Germany at 20.6 per cent and the UK at 19.2 per cent.
The UK PC market, achieving a growth rate of 19.2 per cent year-on-year, improved significantly compared with the end of 1998. The fears of recession that hampered IT investment in the second half of 1998 have decreased. In addition, as in the other European countries, shipments profited from drastic price decreases.
While the average European desktop price fell by 19.4 per cent in the first quarter of 1999, the drop amounted to 26 per cent in the UK, enabling consumers to buy sub-£500 PCs, including the monitor, during the first quarter.
On the vendor side, Compaq achieved a growth rate of 23.8 per cent or 280,545 units shipped. Dell enjoyed considerable success with 39 per cent growth or 236,900 units shipped. Hewlett Packard achieved growth of 36.3 per cent, with 85,808 units shipped.
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