Slow September shouldn't dampen PC sales

Slow September shouldn't dampen PC sales

Positive PC sales for August are likely to be short-lived, with preliminary results from September sales showing a distinct downturn, according to analysts from channel research firm Inform. But overall sales in 2002 look positive. The market's value has shown year-to-date growth of 26 per cent on 2001, while volume growth also continues its upward climb.

According to Inform, Q3 has always been the weakest link for PC sales. Despite the slow September sales, research director Chris Herbert is predicting strong growth for the rest of the calendar year.

"The picture year-on-year continues to be a rosy one with unit sales so far in 2002 showing positive growth of 15 per cent above 2001 levels," he said in a recent Infocus report.

August sales showed promise, with the overall PC market up 6 per cent, and volumes up 8 per cent on August the year before. But a subsequent slump in consumer sales during September does not bode well for the rest of the quarter.

Notebook sales have been driving most of the growth, but desktops rallied in August, growing 8 per cent on July figures.

"Average prices dropped 3 per cent, stemming from a slightly overstocked channel due to relatively poor corporate sales at the end of the financial year in June," Herbert said.

Trade brands and clone PCs continue to increase their market share. They now account for 19 per cent of the market, according to Inform figures. Among vendors, HP's Compaq brand had the strongest growth, with a 1 per cent increase in overall market share. The mass merchant channel proved the real winner for the brand, where Compaq increased its share from 18 per cent in July to 23 per cent in August. Unfortunately, the gain seems to have been at the expense of HP's own branded products -- sales fell three points to 34 per cent in August.

Notebooks also continue to be a shining light for the channel, accounting for 27 per cent of all PC sales in August.

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