Gartner: Worldwide PC shipments up 10 per cent in Q2

Worldwide PC shipments experienced double-digit growth in the second quarter, the first time since the third quarter of 2000, according to preliminary market research published Wednesday by Gartner Inc.

Second-quarter shipments increased 10 per cent from the same period last year to 32.8 million, the Stamford, Connecticut, market research group said in a statement.

Charles Smulders, vice president of Gartner’s worldwide computing platforms group, said the PC industry performed better than expected, suggesting that market conditions are improving. He warned, however, that sustained improvement will depend on economic conditions and their effect on the business upgrade cycle.

Recent survey data from Gartner confirmed that U.S. corporate IT budgets remain tight.

Four of the five top-tier vendors worldwide achieved double-digit growth rates in the second quarter. Dell Computer Corp. was the number one vendor with a 17.6 per cent market share, shipping 5.8 million PCs in the second quarter compared to 4.6 million the year before. That represents a growth rate of 29.5 per cent.

On the heels of Dell was Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) with 16.1 per cent market share. In the second quarter, HP shipped 5.3 million PCs compared to 4.7 million the year before, representing a growth rate of 12.1 per cent.

Even though IBM Corp. was able to increase its growth by 13.4 per cent, shipping 2.2 million PCs, the company remained a distant third with a 6.7 per cent market share.

Fujitsu Ltd., in fourth place, shipped 1.3 million units in the second quarter, or 10.8 per cent more than the year before, accounting for a four per cent market share.

NEC Corp. was the only top-five vendor to experience a second-quarter dip in shipments, down 2.7 per cent. The vendor has a market share of 3.1 per cent.

Second-quarter PC shipments in the U.S. rose 11.1 per cent due in part to strong demand from the consumer and education segments, according to Gartner. Competitive pricing and mobile PCs were important drivers in the home market, Smulders said.

In the U.S. market, Dell also led the pack with a second-quarter growth rate of 26.1 per cent, shipping 3.7 million units. With a market share of 31.1 per cent, the Round Rock, Texas, company nearly surpassed the combined 32.8 per cent unit shipment share of HP, IBM, Gateway Inc. and Apple Computer Inc., the other top four vendors, according to Gartner.

The PC market in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) performed above expectation in the second quarter, with unit shipments up 13 per cent over the same period the year before, according to preliminary figures released by Gartner in a separate statement on Wednesday. This growth was the strongest in the region since 1999, the market research group said.

The positive growth rate, however, masks divergent trends in business and consumer PC demand, according to Gartner. While PC sales to consumers failed to rebound from the slowdown at the end of the first quarter of 2003, shipments to businesses accelerated, the group said.

In Europe, HP was the top vendor, with a 19.4 per cent market share and 13.3 per cent growth rate in the second quarter. HP shipped 1.7 million units in the second quarter compared to 1.9 million year on year.

Even though Dell, with a market share of 9.7 per cent, remained a distant second to HP, the company showed a strong second-quarter performance with a growth rate of 31.2 per cent.

European vendor Fujitsu Siemens Computers (Holding) BV was the third largest supplier, with a market share of 6.6 per cent and a growth rate of 3.8 per cent. Fujitsu Siemens was followed by IBM with a 5.7 market share and 18.9 per cent growth rate. And Acer Inc., second only to Dell with a growth rate of 25.3 per cent, was the fifth largest supplier of PCs in Europe with a market share of 4.6 per cent in the second quarter.

PC shipments in the Asia-Pacific region fellow below expectations, largely because of the effects of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) on business activity in China, Gartner said. Data on unit shipments in the region were not immediately available.