Slower growth in Latin American PC shipments: Dataquest

PC shipments in Latin America significantly slowed in the second quarter compared to last year, as regional economic factors put the brakes on spending, particularly in the home computing market, according to a report released this week by Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner Inc.

Latin American PC shipments posted a 12 per cent growth rate for the second quarter compared to growth of 51 per cent for the same period last year, Dataquest said.

Nearly 1.7 million units were shipped in the second quarter of 2001, but the majority of those were systems priced at under US$1,000.

While 44 per cent of the PCs shipped in Latin America last year were priced at under $1000, in the first two quarters of this year 67 per cent of the units shipped stayed under the thousand mark. This indicates that the region is becoming more price sensitive, Dataquest said.

Computer sales have been affected by the region’s recent economic volatility, which has been prompted by a severe recession in Argentina, an energy crisis in Brazil and the weakened U.S. economy’s effect on its largest trading partner, Mexico.

The home computing market was particularly marred by economic downturns in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, which together experienced only five per cent growth in PC shipments for the second quarter.

There was also a decline in technology adoption, the market researcher noted. Of the units shipped in the second quarter, only 13 per cent had CPU (central processing unit) speeds above the 900Mhz range, Dataquest said.

Overall, Venezuela and Brazil boosted the strongest growth in the region, reporting shipment increases of 84 per cent and 28 per cent, respectively. Brazil alone accounted for 44 per cent of all PC shipments in the region. Mexico came in second with 24 per cent of the total shipments, trailed by Argentina with six per cent.

As for vendors, Compaq Computer Corp. remained the number-one PC maker in Latin America in terms of units shipped and market share. Compaq boasted 20.1 percent of the market in the second quarter with 338,721 units shipped.

The company lost ground since the second quarter of last year, however, when it had 24.3 per cent of the market and shipped 365,326 units. Compaq’s decline could be chalked up to the growing presence of top-tier vendors in the region such as Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) and Dell Computer Corp., Dataquest said. These vendors have been able to successfully target the corporate market, Dataquest noted, which has remained more stable than the home PC market.

HP had 5.7 per cent of market share in the second quarter of this year with 96,516 units shipped, shipping 23.2 per cent more than it did in the same period last year. Dell also experienced significant growth in units shipped, increasing 30.7 per cent over the second quarter of last year with 66,960 units. IBM Corp. garnered 5.5 per cent of the market in the second quarter, shipping 19.8 per cent more units than it did in the second quarter of 2000.

In addition to an economic slowdown, a reduction of import tariffs in some markets in the region could have also played a part in the second quarter results, as more local non-branded systems builders benefited from cheaper imports, Dataquest said.

Dataquest, a unit of Gartner Inc., in San Jose, Calif., can be reached at