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PC Sales Were Flat During Q1

U.S. PC sales data show the market just about holding its own, while Dell Computer retains its No. 1 position, according to the research firms Gartner Dataquest and International Data Corp.’s preliminary first quarter reports.

Gartner Dataquest’s numbers were a bit more optimistic showing a 2.3 percent growth on 11.1 million units shipped during the quarter, while IDC tracked the category as declining 0.4 percent on 10.6 million PCs shipped. The top five vendors each retained their position with Dell followed by Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Gateway and IBM. Despite hanging onto fourth place, Gateway was hammered with about a 30 percent loss of its market share. It ended the quarter with about 6 percent of the market on 581,000 units shipped, according to IDC and Gartner.

However, this small success was not an indicator that the market has turned around. “First quarter 2002 growth rates are based upon weak market performances in the same quarter a year ago, and therefore despite the apparently better growth rate figures, in reality, both the U.S. and worldwide markets remain sluggish,” said Charles Smulders, Gartner Dataquest’s VP for computing platforms worldwide group.

Loren Loverde, IDC’s director worldwide quarterly PC tracker, agreed adding that the good news to take away from the first quarter is that the market is no longer contracting.

Dell managed to grow its market share during the quarter with Gartner indicating a 16.2 percent increase over 2001 for 26.3 percent share of the PC market and IDC being slightly more generous with a 19.4 percent increase for 28.4 percent of the market. Compaq, which is in the process of being acquired by HP, lost just over 12 points of share, ending the quarter with about 12 percent of the market. HP and IBM remained flat.