Despite traditionally being a quieter period for sales, the first quarter of 2005 saw growth in the Australian PC market.
IDC has reported an increase in the total market of six per cent sequentially and 15 per cent compared to Q1, 2004. While the research firm had forecasted less growth than in previous years, the quarter was still strong compared to 2004, PC analyst, Michael Sager, said.
"There were some surprises such as a few large tenders on the education side which saw the commercial notebook market soar," he said.
While that market achieved 19.8 per cent sequential growth, Sager said, the commercial desktop market grew a more modest 4.7 per cent.
In the corporate sector businesses with more than 500 employees had largely completed their buying cycle, he said. But in those with up to 250 employees, demand for PCs remained strong.
"The sector will continue to buy PCs but the swelling to meet post-Y2K and GST refreshes but that is likely to run out in three quarters' time," Sager said. In the consumer space, notebooks grew a 2.3 per cent while desktops declined some 4.4 per cent, he said.
"Q1 is the migration between strong consumer demand in Q4 and strong corporate demand in Q2, so lower growth was expected," he said. "The drop-off in desktops was completely expected as consumer notebooks have really taken off."
The Ingram Micro -Tech Pacific merger also effected the market during the quarter, Sager said.
"With so many vendors at Ingram, companies have to fight just to hold their ground, so they are looking at their channel strategy again," he said. "That is also putting pricing and relationship pressure on the vendors, as well."
In the vendor rankings, the combined PC and notebook market saw HP lead with 16.3 per cent market share, followed by Dell (13.3 per cent), Acer (10.4), IBM (8.1), Toshiba (5.2), Apple (3.5) and Optima (3).
Sager said Acer continued to experience growth, boosting its share of the market by nearly one per cent between Q4, 2004 and Q1, 2005.
"Acer's growth last year was against whiteboxes but this year it is against branded vendors in SME," he said. "Apple is also doing well with demand for its Mac Minis, and Optima is really learning how to compete as a local vendor."