September's indirect PC sales figures showed a 22 per cent slump over the previous month, but according to channel research organisation Inform, these figures will plateau in October before showing an improvement in November.
"Important economic events have toyed with the PC market in Australia as both consumer and business buying behaviour has swayed considerably," said Hakan Alac, senior research analyst with Inform.
Amongst the gloom, Alac found some positive indicators for the rest of the year including the gathering momentum of PC sales around Intel's P4 processors, which jumped 4 per cent over August. In the processor stakes, P4's market share grew to 7 per cent, according to Inform.
"Whilst September was a month that vendors and the channel would rather forget, early reseller sales data collected by Inform shows that the market will bounce back to August levels, but this will not be until November."
Alac said PC sales had been erratic for over 12 months since dropping 16 per cent during September 2000 during the Olympics. There was also a sharp rise of 17 per cent in June this year as buyers took advantage of the many end-of-financial-year sales taking place.
"Now we can see how recent world events have irrefutably had a negative impact on the market," Alac said of the sharp drop in September.
Inform's research found the effects of the September slump hit across the board with "all of the major indirect vendors losing considerable ground" over the previous month, according to Alac.
Compaq remained leader with a 21 per cent market share but it suffered a 29 per cent drop. Sales slid 22 per cent at second-placed HP (16 per cent market share) while the next two players, IBM and Toshiba, dipped by 21 and 29 per cent respectively.
Alac said that a 15 per cent drop in PC sales through corporate dealer channels, which represent 39 per cent of all sales, was "a significant blow to the commercial channel". He feels businesses are adopting a "wait-and-see approach" in the aftermath of September 11.
"This has not been helped by stagnating prices and scant software offerings," Alac said.
Worst hit in the September freeze was the mass merchant retail chain which pulled in 45 per cent less than it did just one month before. Alac put this down to a market that is "typically sensitive to uncertainty" and which is still adopting "the 'why should I upgrade' mentality.
"Longer term, the PC market will not return to true health until mid-2002."