Capitalising on its strong position in spite of the Asian currency crisis, the Australian PC market has muscled out Korea to become the Asia-Pacific region's second biggest player according to research by the GartnerGroup.
Announced this week at Dataquest Predicts '99 conference in Sydney Ian Bertram, principal analyst for the GartnerGroup/Dataquest, sized the Australian PC market in 1998 at $4482 million, forecast to grow to $6401 million by 2003, representing an annual growth rate of 7.39 per cent.
Citing business and education as the biggest growth areas in the Australian PC market, Bertram claims that despite "phenomenal growth" it is becoming "harder and harder for resellers to make a buck".
Bertram said: "In Australia unit shipment growth for 1998 was 22.5 per cent, while revenue growth was negative 2 per cent. The PC market isn't as stable as we all first thought."
Bertram claims one of the big issues facing PC sales for 1999 will be Y2K, which will stall the uptake of Win 2000 and the mobile market "replacement cycle" until midway through the year 2000 before the market picks back up.
He said that contrary to popular belief the desktop market grew faster than the mobile market and that trend will continue. "You'll still see desktops being the major market growth contributor out to the year 2002," claims Bertram.
Another issue Bertram raised is a shift towards non-linear distribution models in an attempt to achieve reduced costs within organisations so as to continue generating profit from albeit shrinking margins.
According to the GartnerGroup, new technology will also be a major driver in the marketplace, with the convergence of business and entertainment technology paramount at a consumer level. While corporate technology directions for 1999 will entail small form factor PCs, desktop LCD growth and security of information, said Bertram.
While Bertram claimed Hewlett-Packard was 1998's "dark horse", Gateway is one to look out for in the Australian marketplace.
"They're doing some very unique things with their services business and their also doing some very unique things with their channel. Gateway has always been a direct seller, have look what they're doing with the Telstra shops."