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PC Sales Show Double Digit Growth

PC shipments posted very healthy double-digit growth during the first quarter with Dell again leading the way, selling about one-third of all PCs in the United States, according to reports from International Data Corp. and Gartner.

For the first quarter, IDC, Framingham, Mass., said the U.S. market saw PC shipments increase 15.7 percent to 13.7 million. Gartner of Stamford, Conn. reported 11.6 percent sales growth on shipments of 14.8 million. Shipment figures increased on a worldwide basis as well with IDC indicating a 16.5 percent shipment increase to 41.2 million and Gartner seeing a 13.4 percent jump to 45.3 million. Gartner and IDC compile their sales information differently, and this is reflected in the totals.

Both companies credited increased business purchases as the driving factor for the uptick in shipments. This differs from past quarters when consumer sales were the only reason the industry managed to post gains.

“The professional market showed increased sales in the quarter. However, this was offset by weaker sales in the U.S. retail market,” the Gartner report stated.

Loren Loverde, IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker director, was upbeat about the business sales climate.

“This quarter’s results reveal a robust market and the improving business demand we’ve been looking for. A number of factors, including an aging installed base, rapid portable adoption and aggressive pricing, should continue to drive growth into 2005,” Loverde said.

Dell dominated the U.S. domestic computer market by grabbing a 33.5 percent market share by increasing its shipments for the period 23.2 percent to 4.6 million, according to IDC. Gartner also placed Dell well in the lead with a 30.3 percent share on shipments that increased 30.2 percent to 4.5 million. Hewlett-Packard’s strong performance gave it a lock on second place, with IDC giving HP 18.6 percent of the market on 2.6 million units shipped, a 10 percent increase. IDC analyzed HP’s progress by saying that the bulk of its sales in the first quarter were from business sales, a segment it needs to nurture, all the while keeping a firm hand on its consumer sales, if the company hopes to maintain its current position.

Gartner was slightly less generous, reporting HP had 17.2 percent market share on 2.5 million units shipped, an 11.9 increase.

Rounding out the top five were IBM, eMachines and Gateway. IBM notebook sales kept Big Blue in third place with 4.5 percent market share. Meanwhile, entry-level PC maker eMachines made its first and now last appearance as a top-five computer vendor. The company enjoyed a 24.3 percent increase in shipments, hitting 452,000, giving it 3.3 percent of the market, according to IDC.

Gartner had eMachines with 3.2 percent share on 479,000 units shipped; however, since fifth place finisher Gateway purchased eMachines last month, its sales will begin to show under the Gateway banner. This is good news for Gateway as it was the only manufacturer to ship fewer computers during the quarter, compared to the same period in 2003.

According to IDC, Gateway lost a full percent off its market share, falling to 3 percent, and it shipped 410,000 units, a 15.8 percent drop. Gartner’s figures painted an even more dismal picture for Gateway with a 2.7 percent share on 405,000 units shipped.

First Quarter U.S. PC Shipments