Six months after its acquisition of Compaq Computer temporarily gave it a slight lead in worldwide PC shipments, Hewlett-Packard (HP) regained that spot from Dell Computer in the fourth quarter of 2002, according to market research firm IDC.
Overall, worldwide shipments of PCs grew 4 per cent in the fourth quarter compared to last year, IDC said.
HP's market share of worldwide shipments in the fourth quarter was 16.1 per cent compared with Dell's market share of 15.7 per cent. HP shipped 6.17 million units; Dell trailed closely with 6.05 million units. IBM placed third with 2.25 million units (5.8 per cent of the market), followed by Fujitsu Siemens Computers with 1.66 million units (4.3 per cent), and NEC with 1.26 million units(3.3 per cent).
IDC's director of client computing, Roger Kay, said: "HP is the stronger company among consumers, and consumers performed stronger than expected, especially in the US."
HP's stronger international presence contributed to its ranking in the fourth quarter, Kay said. PC shipments in the Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan) posted especially strong double-digit growth, fueled by the continued growth of the China market. However, Europe remained weak with little improvement in sales to consumers.
IDC said that US consumers bought 6.6 per cent more PCs this year than they did in the fourth quarter of 2001. Growth in unit shipments was stronger than expected in the US, due partly to aggressive pricing from HP and Dell.
Dell did maintain its lead for the full year, shipping 20.7 million units worldwide compared to HP's 18.4 million units. The HP numbers include shipments of Compaq PCs after the acquisition closed.
"We're calling it a horse race for the foreseeable future, over the next three quarters or so," Kay said.
Overall shipments for the year were up 1.5 per cent, compared with a decline of 4.2 per cent in 2001.
IDC said Gateway failed to grow its shipments from the third quarter of 2002 to the fourth quarter, despite strong PC sales among consumers. Gateway placed third in US shipments with 700,000 units in the fourth quarter.