IDC: 1998 Q4 healthy for PC market

IDC: 1998 Q4 healthy for PC market

Shipments of PCs worldwide grew 15 per cent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 1998, and were up 23 per cent compared to the previous quarter, according to preliminary estimates that International Data Corporation made public today.

Worldwide shipments hit 27.3 million units last quarter, while the total number of PCs shipped in 1998 was nearly 90 million units, compared to 80.3 million in 1997.

Compaq Computer held onto first place for the quarter and the year in the U.S. and worldwide; IDC credits the company with solving inventory problems that have plagued it, becoming more aggressive on pricing and enjoying healthy demand for its consumer-oriented products.

Second place worldwide was IBM, which IDC said did well towards the end of the year in its consumer business. The company has also had strong sequential growth rates for the past two quarters, IDC said. Dell Computer took second place in the US, although it's in third place globally behind IBM.

Fourth and fifth in the global PC market, respectively, were Hewlett-Packard and Packard Bell NEC. HP had the second highest year-over-year growth rate among the top five worldwide in 1998, but Packard Bell's growth declined with its US commercial business flat.

Gateway didn't make it into the top five worldwide, but did take third place in the US market in 1998.

Demand in the US was driven by Windows 98, Apple's iMac, and low-cost Intel based PCs, as well as the phenomenon of direct sales by manufacturers, IDC said. Western Europe's strong economy helped fuel PC market growth in that region. However, economic woes in Japan, Asia/Pacific, and Eastern Europe held back the growth of the PC market worldwide.

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