PC sales still slow, Dell closes in on new HP

PC sales declined for the fifth quarter in a row, dashing hopes for a speedy recovery in computer sales, according to data published Thursday by two research companies.

Worldwide PC shipments for the second quarter of 2002 were down 0.5 per cent from a year ago, to 31.1 million units, according to data from IDC, in Framingham, Massachusetts. Shipments also were down from the immediate prior quarter, by 7.8 per cent, IDC said.

Results from Gartner Inc., in Stanford, Conn., told a similar story, showing a 0.6 per cent year-on-year decline for the quarter, with 29.9 million units shipped, the company said in a statement.

IDC had expected sales for the quarter to be better after figures released earlier this year sparked some optimism. Aging PCs, the arrival of better technologies and a more stable economy still could spur a recovery in the coming quarters, IDC said.

Both IDC and Gartner placed the new Hewlett-Packard Co., now merged with Compaq Computer, at the top of the worldwide PC market. HP claimed 15.1 per cent of the market in the second quarter, with 4.7 million units shipped, IDC said. Dell came a close second with 14.8 per cent of shipments and 4.6 million units sold. Rounding out the top 5 sellers were IBM Corp. (6.3 per cent), Fujitsu Siemens Computer Holding BV (3.8 per cent) and NEC Corp. (3.2 per cent).

Of this group, only Dell showed year-on-year market share growth, posting a 15.5 per cent rise in shipments, according to IDC.

Gartner’s numbers were similar to those of IDC. It gave HP a 15.5 per cent share, Dell 14.9 per cent and IBM 6.6 per cent. Gartner rounded out its top 5 with NEC at 3.5 per cent of the market and Toshiba Corp. taking 3 per cent.

While HP took the top spot in worldwide shipments, it held onto only a slight lead of 0.6 per centage points over Dell, Gartner said. HP saw shipments decline 16.1 per cent in the quarter.

Sales in the U.S. remained weak, particularly in the consumer segment, IDC said.

In Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), meanwhile, shipments fell 0.3 per cent in the quarter, Gartner said. Unit shipments in Japan dropped 12 per cent, while Asia/Pacific and Latin America posted single-digit growth rates of 5 per cent and 4.3, respectively.

The research companies said PC sellers will need to promote DVD drives and improved graphics features to boost business.