SME boom buoys PC sales

SME boom buoys PC sales

The Asia-Pacific PC market may be growing, but Australian sales suffered negative Q2 growth, as businesses locked down spending in the lead up to the GST, according to the most recent report by market analyst Gartner.

However the industry's largest distributor, Tech Pacific, reports market growth has never been stronger. Its PC sales figures grew by 87 per cent year on year, spurred on by unprecedented demand in the SME market.

"Our market experience is a little bit different," said Tech Pacific's category manager for PCs, Joshua Velling. "Our year on year figures show very substantial growth."

"We have seen growth across all our brands - IBM, HP, Toshiba and Compaq. It has been phenomenal and while GST implementation has been instrumental in many sales, the change in PC form factors has also had a big impact, with smaller footprints."

A decrease in whitebox manufacturing and notebook prices were also influencing factors. Notebook sales increased by 38 per cent.

While Velling declined to give exact forecast figures, he said the trend should continue well into 2001.

"Our customer base services the SME market. We have had really strong growth all this year and that will continue right through until next year - I don't see a big fall off at all," he predicted.

The enterprise market, which is largely responsible for the poor Q2 sales figures, should also pick up.

"We certainly feel the corporate space will start to hot up again and sectors such as education will also continue to grow."

The Australian market's shipment share is down 4 per cent year on year to 13.1 per cent while most other markets in the Asian Pacific region experienced positive growth. Gartner analysts said the figures bear out predictions that the quarter would be a slow one as larger enterprises held off IT spending in preparation for the introduction of the GST.

However, it was not all doom and gloom - the market grew overall quarter on quarter - buoyed along by growth in the retail channel and in the SME arena.

"While there was negative growth due to the GST, quarter on quarter there was growth of 12 per cent, driven by the GST startup kit offered by the ATO to small business to combat the fear of the GST," said regional director and principal analyst for Dataquest Asia-Pacific, Ian Bertram.

China retains the largest PC market share, with 38.2 per cent while Korea grabbed 19.5 per cent, with year-on-year growth of 84 per cent driven by competition and price wars amongst the major PC and notebook vendors.

The PC market continues to expand as market confidence in the Asian economy is maintained and IT infrastructure plans continue to flourish.

Bertram said the Asia-Pacific region was well on the way to breaking 18 million units for this year with a total growth rate of around 35 per cent year on year.

"The growth in countries such as China and Korea has spurred the region on to greater heights," he said.

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