Santa brings no cheer for PC vendors

Worldwide PC shipments are projected to reach 35.1 million units in the fourth quarter of 2002, a 1.5% increase from the same period last year, according to a new study from Gartner Dataquest.

During the fourth quarter, PC vendors usually see a spike up in sales during the holiday season, but Gartner Dataquest analysts said they don’t expect a big boost in sales this year.

‘The gloomy economic situation is likely to affect US and Japan holiday season purchases,’ said George Shiffler, principal analyst for Gartner Dataquest’s computing platforms and economics research.

‘Given that home PC penetration is relatively high in the world’s developed economies, limited funds may induce users to extend the life of their PCs. Many families may also choose other devices such as game consoles, DVD players and digital cameras instead of upgrading their old PCs.’

‘There’s also a lack of compelling technologies that will inspire consumers to purchase a PC this holiday season,’ added Charles Smulders, vice president for Gartner Dataquest’s Computing Platforms Worldwide group.

‘Rewriteable DVD prices are anticipated to fall, but the ongoing battles between rewriteable DVD drive formats (DVD-RW or DVD+RW) continue. Uncertainty over the outcome of this format war is at least partially likely to undermine the effect of lower drive prices.’

The worldwide PC industry is on pace for PC shipments to reach 127.3 million units in 2002, a 1.8 percent increase over 2001 shipments. The industry will see single-digit growth in 2003, as worldwide PC shipments are forecast for a 7% increase.

‘Economic uncertainty and its effects on business and consumer confidence will continue to impact PC sales in 2002 and 2003,’ said Shiffler. ‘On a regional basis, the US economy has clearly bottomed out, and it remains weak and hesitant. Japan and Western Europe appear to be backsliding and war jitters have upped the price of oil.’

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