New research from IDC indicates monitor sales took a beating in the fourth quarter of 2001 to cap off a difficult year for PC-centric resellers.
Total monitor shipments in the quarter fell by 7.4 per cent over Q3 2001 in what amounts to a year-on-year 23 per cent downturn in monitor sales.
The drop in sales was due to several factors, according to IDC analyst Reuben Tan. The first half of 2001 saw Australia plunge into a PC industry slowdown. The first quarter of the year, when resellers tend to stock up most, was way down on previous years and stock remained in the channel longer than usual. Tan said that stock from branded monitor vendors was particularly responsible for stuffing the channel during this period. The channel only began procuring again, rather cautiously, in late Q3 and Q4.
The channel had also stocked up due to aggressive promotions on the part of recent market entrants such as ViewSonic, which opened its first Australian office in North Sydney in early 2001.
Tan has also noticed anecdotal evidence of increasing grey market activity in the monitor channel. "Although you can't get numbers for this kind of thing, there is a growing disparity between PC sales and monitor unit shipments. Monitor sales tend to track PC sales fairly consistently, but the gap between the two is growing a little."
Branded monitor sales fell 12.7 per cent over the previous quarter, while the OEM market was fairly steady, with a decrease of 1.1 per cent. IDC believes the market is becoming commoditised to the point where further price drops are expected purely so players can remain competitive.