Despite a weak performance in Europe, the PC industry enjoyed sales growth during the past three months, according to two separate turnover figures from industry analysts.
In its PC market share results for the third quarter, analyst IDC reported that consumer demand and the Asian economic recovery helped to increase unit shipments by 18.3 per cent to 33.3 million. Analyst Gartner calculated shipments surpassed 33.9 million units during the period, an increase of 15.2 per cent over last year.
Bruce Stephen, an analyst at IDC, said that the European market, especially for corporate desktops, has been sluggish since the beginning of the year. "Europe tends to be a mature market. After companies upgrade PCs, they tend to slow down and use their assets," he said.
European currency exchange rates and general economic jitters have also led to lower demand for new PCs in the region, he added.
Earlier this month, Dell blamed Europe for an expected shortfall in its third-quarter results, only weeks after Intel issued a similar warning. Although Intel's actual results were better than expected, the company confirmed that European PC demand remained weak.
But the slowdown in Europe has not affected global sales. "The overall market is stable. The jitters we've seen appear to be isolated and linked to particular vendors and sectors. I think vendors benefiting from growth are companies like Hewlett Packard (HP), which is opening up its consumer business, and to some extent Compaq," said Stephen.
Charles Smulders, an analyst at Gartner, agreed. "It's important to recognise that slow growth in the developed regions does not diminish the value of the PC market. We expect PC shipments to exceed 40 million units on a worldwide basis in the fourth quarter," he said.
Preliminary figures show Compaq leading the way with a 13 per cent market share, followed by Dell with 11 per cent and HP with 7.8 per cent.
IBM's share fell from eight per cent to 7.4 per cent, and Fujitsu Siemens came in fifth with five per cent, down from 5.8 per cent a year ago.
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