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Thu, Mar 14, 2002 - Page 21 News List

IDC revises upward its PC forecast

BLOOMBERG , FRAMINGHAM, MASSACHUSETTS

Sony Corp's VAIO laptop PCG-VX7/BD. Sony unveiled several new high-end versions of its popular VAIO laptop as forecasters in the US predicted a recovery in the worldwide PC market.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Worldwide shipments of personal computers will rise 3 percent this year because of strong demand from US consumers, market researcher IDC said in a revised forecast.

IDC increased its estimate from a 1.8 percent rise forecast in December. Shipments will jump 11 percent this year, IDC analyst Roger Kay said.

"We're expecting consumers, based on current economic factors, to come out relatively strongly at the end of the year," said Kay. The revised estimate "is reflecting the US recovery."

Demand for PCs from corporations will remain slow, with growth at 1.8 percent, IDC said. Dell Computer Corp has been predicting a rebound in PC shipments in the second half this year, led by corporations replacing their PCs.

"They are more optimistic than we are," Kay said. "I think that corporations will continue to be conservative and not buy PCs if they don't have to. I'm not sure what Dell's seeing."

Corporations are more likely to buy more PCs next year, IDC said, which is based in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Dell still will gain market share because of consumers, Kay said. Both Hewlett-Packard and Compaq may lose share because corporate consumers have withheld purchases pending whether both companies will merge, Kay said.

"Many companies are unwilling to commit to buying PCs from a company whose future seems uncertain," said Kay. "The current momentum is against them."

Others expected to gain market share include Emachines Inc and Sony Corp because retailers don't want to depend on Hewlett-Packard and Compaq, Kay said. Gateway Inc could also gain "a little share" because its strategy is to lower prices, Kay said.

Last year was the first since 1985 in which worldwide shipments of PCs declined. Dell was the only company in the fourth quarter to increase shipments, which rose 14 percent to 4.86 million units. Its market share increased to 14.2 percent from 11.7 percent a year earlier.

The market share of Compaq, unseated by Dell last year as the largest PC maker, was 11.2 while No. 3 Hewlett-Packard's was 8 percent.

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