New York - Despite the PC retail market receiving a much needed boost during the holiday selling season, the category overall remained depressed and shrunk about 10 percent in the fourth quarter compared to 2000, according to an industry report issued yesterday.
International Data Corp., Framingham, Mass., reported that U.S. PC shipments fell 10.1 percent on 11.1 million units shipped. For all of 2001 the San Jose, Calif.-based Gartner Dataquest posted the fall off at 11.1 percent on 43.8 million units shipped, down from 49.3 million in 2000.
Neither research firm is forecasting a rapid turnaround for 2002.
Loren Loverde, director of IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker said the pieces are in place for some improvement to be seen by the end of the year, depending upon changes in the economic environment for the worldwide market. Dataquest initial feel for 2002 has worldwide shipments declining 4 percent for the first quarter, but rebounding by the same amount for the year.
'While there is a mood of optimism in the industry, having made it through the bloodbath that was 2001, evidence for an immediate improvement in the first quarter of 2002 is far from clear. On the positive side, it does not appear that the market is getting worse,' said Charles Smulders, vice president of Dataquest's Computing Platforms Worldwide Group.
In the United States consumer were given most of the credit for keeping the PC downturn from being a true disaster. IDC said consumer confidence has been bolstered by the generally positive news coming from the war on terrorism. This has led to draining of the retail PC inventory, which had been suffering from an over supply situation for most of the year.
The poor year had its effect on PC vendors. Dell was the only PC maker to increase unit shipments for the fourth quarter and year and retain stranglehold on the top spot in the U.S. market. Dell garnered 24.5 percent of the market on 10.7 million units shipped in 2001, according to Dataquest, while IDC's research gave the company 27.5 percent of the market in the fourth quarter on just over 3 million units shipped.
Dataquest's numbers indicated the remaining top five vendors lost only a few points of share during the year to Dell, but each experienced a massive fall off in units shipped. Second place Compaq shipped 28 percent fewer PCs for the year. Hewlett-Packard, in third place, saw shipments drop 22.5 percent, Gateway lost 24 percent off its 2000 figure and IBM a modest 6.8 percent.
The fourth quarter was not much kinder, said IDC, with Compaq dropping 24.7 percent, HP 13.4 percent, Gateway 35.6 percent and IBM 22.7 percent.