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Thursday, July 20, 2006
PC Growth Slowed as Europeans Watch World Cup - IDC


Personal computer makers encountered slowing growth in the second quarter as Europeans were fixated by the soccer World Cup, but Hewlett-Packard and Dell made strides in the United States, market researcher IDC reported on Wednesday.

PC makers shipped 9.7 percent more units than in the year-earlier quarter, IDC said, but excess inventory from the first quarter and the soccer championship limited growth to 7 percent in Europe, far short of IDC's 12 percent forecast.

In the United States, customers bought 6.7 percent more PCs than in the year-earlier period, and Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region showed strong growth, IDC said.

Dell of Round Rock, Texas, remained the market leader, with 19.2 percent of the worldwide PC market, up from 19 percent a year earlier, and unit growth of 10.9 percent, IDC said. In the United States, Dell's market share slipped slightly to 34.2 percent from 34.3 percent, and it shipped 6.4 percent more units.

A separate survey by Gartner Inc., also published on Wednesday, showed an 11 percent increase in worldwide PC shipments in the second quarter. Gartner attributed the gain to price cuts.

No. 2 PC maker Hewlett-Packard continued to gain on Dell, growing 13 percent globally to claim 15.9 percent of the market. It grew 15.5 percent in the United States, where it had a 20.1 percent market share.

Dell in May said it would cut prices to regain market share after its unit growth fell behind overall market growth for the first time in the first quarter. Hewlett-Packard and competitors including Acer Computer International , the world's No. 4 PC vendor, have cut Dell's traditional price advantage as components become cheaper and manufacturing becomes more efficient.

PC makers in the United States "were very assertive in the second quarter," lowering prices and selling more notebook computers "to collectively reverse sluggish growth trends from the previous six months," said Richard Shim, senior analyst with IDC's personal computing program.

Gateway Inc. , a distant third in the U.S. personal computer market, had unit growth of 16.7 percent in the second quarter to claim 6.5 percent of the domestic market, IDC said. Apple Computer Inc. sold 16 percent more units, giving it the No. 4 position with 4.8 percent of the U.S. market.


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