Y2K could have been a disaster for the Australian PC industry if it hadn't been for continued consumer confidence, said analyst IDC.
Amidst corporate lockdowns the PC market experienced 9.9 per cent growth in Q4 99 over the same period in 98, with consumer spending on desktops increasing by 32.3 per cent.
"Of that (495,000 PCs shipped)
390, 000 (78 per cent) were desktops. We saw a rise in notebooks and a decrease in PC servers shipped. This is consistent with the overall trend of an increase in consumer spending and a decrease in corporate spending as a result of the Y2K lock down," explained Logan Ringland, market analyst, PCs, for IDC.
Consumers remained unfazed by the spectre of Y2K, and were instead buoyed by a strong economy, increased PC affordability, pre-Christmas spending and a touch of millennial euphoria.
The consumer orientation of the fourth quarter is reflected in the performances of the top vendors. Compaq retained its number one position with 14.5 per cent and IBM remained at number two with 11.8 per cent. Hewlett-Packard climbed back to third spot over Dell in fourth and Apple in fifth.
On a broader scale, Y2K and the Asian economic crisis failed to dent the regional PC market. Instead a recovering economy spurred total shipments to a record 14.1 million units and a growth rate of 35.1 per cent.
"After two very tumultuous years, the Asian PC market returned to the fast track in 1999. Looking forward, conditions such as low PC penetration, particularly in vast untapped markets like China and India, falling prices, growing awareness and the Internet will enable Asia to regain its position as the hottest PC market in the world," explained Kitty Fok, research manager at IDC Asia-Pacific.
IBM managed to wrest the number one spot from Compaq with a market share of 8.4 per cent, up from 8.1 per cent. Compaq in second controlled 7.3 per cent of the market and was followed by Legend and Samsung. Hewlett- Packard dropped from third place to fifth, recording only 5.4 per cent of shipments in the region.