Worldwide PC sales were the slowest in years for 1996 - pulled down by below-average growth in the US and European markets, according to research by International Data Corporation.
The company said the market grew at 16 per cent overall, with the US posting a 15 per cent increase. Dragging the market down was a very depressed fourth quarter in which worldwide growth was only 11 per cent.
IDC said worldwide shipments were 68.4 million units for 1996. Leading the pack was Compaq with 10.3 per cent of the market - up from 9.8 per cent in 1995. IBM was second with 8.9 per cent followed by Packard Bell, Apple and Hewlett-Packard.
The big improver was HP which made its first appearance on the list of the top five PC vendors worldwide. In contrast, Apple lost share from 7.9 per cent of the market to 5.2 per cent in 1996, IDC said. While the Mac-maker remained in fourth spot for worldwide shipments, it slipped from the top five in the fourth quarter for US shipments.
Compaq led the market for the third consecutive year, fending off a challenge from IBM, which gained market share for the first time since 1993.
The low 11 per cent worldwide growth rate has to be taken into context, IDC said. It is based on a comparison with an extraordinary quarter the year before, in which PC sales boomed by 27 per cent, the company noted.