Booming March brings PC market back to life

A boom in indirect PC sales in March rescued what was otherwise poor first-quarter volumes, with a boost of 29 per cent over February, according to the latest figures from analyst Inform.

There is typically a spike at the end of the quarter, however the growth in March 2002 represented a 21 per cent increase over the March total in 2001.

According to Inform's chief PC market analyst Chris Herbert, the rise in March was seen in both the desktop and notebook sectors, demonstrating increases of 25 per cent and 43 per cent respectively over February. He added that server sales were less dramatic with a 13 per cent growth, rounding off a relatively flat quarter for server sales.

The value of the market also received a much-needed boost of 28 per cent on February, representing a 32 per cent increase on March 2001. Dollar values rose across all three segments but most noticeably in the notebook sector, where value sales rose 41 per cent on February and a more impressive 43 per cent on March 2001. Overall average prices remained relatively stable in the channel, dropping by only 1 per cent on February.

Compaq maintained a slim lead in March maintaining a 23 per cent share of the indirect market, despite a considerable 31 per cent increase in sales.

HP experienced unit growth of 26 per cent overall with growth being seen in all three sectors; desktops over 26 per cent, notebooks over 32 per cent and servers over 23 per cent. This growth maintained HP's overall share of the market at 22 per cent and its second place position.

"March has certainly given the market an injection of optimism and despite Inform's prediction of a fall in sales in April of around 9 per cent, the market continues to show positive growth year on year," said Herbert. "The cyclical nature of the market, emergence from the global market downturn, the launch of XP and subsequent acceleration of P4 sales all suggest that PC sales will experience positive growth this year over 2001, probably in excess of 7 per cent."

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