IDC: Q2 PC shipments grow; Dell still number one

Dell Computer Corp. still leads the world in PC shipments as the industry appears to be headed back to a healthier growth pattern, according to data from market researcher IDC released Wednesday.

The total number of PCs shipped in the second quarter was 33.2 million units, up 7.6 percent compared to last year's second quarter according to IDC figures. Growth came in ahead of IDC's expectations of 4.1 percent, as consumers increased their buying amid historically low prices, and the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus outbreak had less of an effect than anticipated, IDC said.

Dell shipped 5.9 million units in the quarter, up 28.9 percent from last year's second quarter. Dell also increased its PC market share to 17.8 percent. Hewlett-Packard Co. also posted a solid quarter, shipping 5.4 million units in the second quarter, up 13.3 percent from last year's second quarter. But it remained behind its main rival Dell for the top spot worldwide for the second consecutive quarter after taking the lead in the fourth quarter of 2002.

IBM Corp. trailed the top two companies with shipments of 2.2 million units in the quarter, up 11.9 percent from last year's second quarter. Fujitsu Siemens Computers (Holding) BV and Toshiba Corp. rounded out the top five vendors worldwide.

IDC reduced its expectations for 2003 shipment growth in June, but appears to feel better about the industry's growth prospects after compiling Wednesday's results.

Loren Loverde, director of IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, warned Wednesday that second-quarter growth might be a reflection of short-term pricing strategies, but he expects an increase in corporate spending to keep the market going, he said in a press release.

Corporate spending in the current quarter likely increased, Loverde said in a telephone interview. "The overall growth rate suggests that there is some recovery there (in corporate PC spending), but we'll have to see how that turns out," he said. Because an anticipated recovery in 2002 fell short, IDC is hesitant to declare that any type of broader recovery is under way without more data, he said.

The U.S. PC market grew by 8.1 percent, a higher rate than expected, IDC said. Growth in Europe, the Middle East and Africa was also slightly above forecasts as consumers and small businesses snapped up cheap desktop PCs and new notebooks, the Framingham, Massachusetts, company said.

Asia-Pacific endured a difficult quarter caused by the SARS virus, but business did not drop off as much as expected, and has recovered faster than expected, IDC said. Growth declined compared to the first quarter of 2003, but is expected to improve during the third and fourth quarters, the company said.

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