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PDA Sales Fall Worldwide

2/06/2004 02:07:00 PM Eastern

Framingham, Mass. — Smart-phones are beginning to have an impact on worldwide PDA sales and are partially responsible for an 18 percent decline in PDA shipments in 2003, according to IDC, the market research firm based here.

Worldwide PDA sales fell to 10.4 million units from 12.6 million units in 2003, said IDC. But sales in the United States, which account for approximately half of the worldwide market, increased over 2002, according to Gartner’s Dataquest, based in Stamford, Conn. Dataquest would not break out U.S. growth statistics.

Hewlett-Packard was the most aggressive vendor in the second half of 2003, with HP releasing seven new PDA models priced between $199 and $599. Most other vendors, including palmOne, Sony, Dell and Toshiba saw most of their sales at the sub-$250 price point in the fourth quarter, according to Gartner.

PalmOne retained its top market share position in the U.S. market, although by a slimmer margin than in 2002. PalmOne accounted for more than 54 percent of U.S. PDA shipments in 2002, dropping to 43.3 percent in 2003. HP increased its U.S. share to 15.2 percent, up from 11.4 percent in 2002, Sony’s share increased by a half a percentage point to 14.8 percent.

'Through the end of 2004, smartphones will generally have a negative impact on the low end of the PDA market, as many individual users will find the personal information management (PIM) and e-mail capabilities of smartphones acceptable,' said Todd Kort, principal analyst in Gartner’s Computing Platforms Worldwide group. 'These users will tend to become less interested in low-end PDAs that have provided these capabilities.'

IDC analyst David Linsalata agreed, noting that as more smartphone-type devices become available worldwide, 'consumers are moving away from devices that offer only PIM capability. Going forward, handheld-device vendors must continue to differentiate and expand into hot product categories, such as media players and digital cameras, to renew growth in their market.'

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