The last quarter of 1998 stood as a witness to the further consolidation of the Australian PC market, with 450,000 units shipped, according to IDC reports.
Amongst the factors contributing to the 9.6 per cent increase in overall shipments from the same period in 1997, IDC listed the normal end-of-season influences assisted by low inflation as well as the mobile PC purchasing programs by the education market.
Seasonal they may be, yet the results of the research confirm "the long-range trend to the dominance of a few large players", IDC officials claim, emphasising that the big five, namely Compaq, IBM, HP, Acer and Apple, took 41 per cent of the PC market pie, according to IDC's survey.
"The PC market just follows the trends already well under way in other areas of the industry. Big firms are getting bigger and smaller companies are getting smaller," said Bernie Esner, IDC's senior analyst PCs, adding that "this is not to say the local IT shop is not there, especially given its capability to configure to order.
"Nevertheless, smaller PC players have a lot to consider," he said. "They have to understand their business and their customers' needs. But most of all, they must distinguish between the new and old markets. While in the old market a product was simply a product, the new market puts more emphasis on the service that comes with that product.
"In a way, the market is like a major jigsaw; whenever one thinks that it is completed, there is a new piece thrown into the game and new complementary products to reckon with," Esner concluded.