Gartner Says Strong Mobile Sales Lift Worldwide PC Shipments to 12 Percent Growth in 2004

The Mobile Segment Offset Slower Sales in the U.S. and EMEA Consumer Markets

STAMFORD, Conn., January 18, 2005 — Worldwide PC shipments in 2004 increased 11.8 percent from 2003, due to strong mobile PC sales, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc.

"Overall fourth quarter 2004 PC sales were in line with projections, despite some weakness in the U.S. and EMEA consumer markets," said Charles Smulders, vice president of Gartner's Computing Platforms Worldwide Group. "Lower prices, better performance and wireless accessibility accelerated mobile sales."

Dell strengthened its lead in the worldwide vendor market (see Table 1) with solid performance in all regions. "In the fourth quarter, falling component prices allowed Dell to further lower prices and gain margin and market share," Mr. Smulders said.

Table 1
Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2004
(Thousands of Units)
Company 2004 Shipments 2004 Market Share (%) 2003 Shipments 2003 Market Share (%) 2003-2004 Growth (%)
Dell 30,995 16.4 25,169 14.9 23.1
Hewlett-Packard 27,567 14.6 24,624 14.6 12.0
IBM 10,381 5.5 8,929 5.3 16.3
Fujitsu/Fujitsu Siemens 7,134 3.8 6,275 3.7 13.7
Acer 6,399 3.4 4,937 2.9 29.6
Others 106,502 56.4 99,125 58.6 7.4
Total 188,978 100.0 169,058 100.0 11.8
Note: Data includes desk-based PCs, mobile PCs and X86-32 servers. Gateway and eMachines are reported as one company, as are Fujitsu and Fujitsu Siemens.
Source: Gartner Dataquest (January 2005)

Hewlett-Packard's PC shipments increased 12 percent in 2004, however the company did face some challenges at the end of the year. In the fourth quarter, HP's growth rate was lower than the worldwide average due to slower sales in its key U.S. and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) markets.

During the fourth quarter, IBM announced that it would sell its PC business to the Lenovo Group of China. Lenovo will move up to third place in the worldwide PC market rankings after the acquisition is completed. "The stress on PC vendors from operating on such low margins led to IBM's exit," Mr. Smulders said. "Expect further consolidation going forward." In November, before the IBM-Lenovo announcement, Gartner forecast that three of the top 10 PC manufacturers worldwide would leave the business by 2007.

In the United States, PC shipments totaled 62.3 million units in 2004, an 8.3 percent increase from 2003 (see Table 2). During the fourth quarter of 2004, the consumer market showed mixed results, with weaker than expected desktop growth but very solid notebook market growth.

"With Gateway's renewed focus on retail as well as the entrance of new notebook vendors, including Averatec, the battle for the retail shelf space became more intense," Mr. Smulders said.

Table 2
Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2004
(Thousands of Units)
Company 2004 Shipments 2004 Market Share (%) 2003 Shipments 2003 Market Share (%) 2003-2004 Growth (%)
Dell 18,878 30.3 15,944 27.7 18.4
Hewlett-Packard 11,453 18.4 10,708 18.6 7.0
Gateway 3,601 5.8 3,622 6.3 -0.6
IBM 2,907 4.7 2,727 4.7 6.6
Apple 1,965 3.2 1,693 2.9 16.1
Others 23,473 37.7 22,822 39.7 2.9
Total 62,279 100.0 57,515 100.0 8.3
Note: Data includes desk-based PCs, mobile PCs and X86-32 servers. Gateway and eMachines are reported as one company.
Source: Gartner Dataquest (January 2005)

In the Europe, Middle East and African (EMEA) region, PC shipments totaled 61.7 million units in 2004, a 14 percent increase from 2003. In the fourth quarter, shipments totaled 19.5 million units, an 11.7 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2003.

"2004 was a strong year showing double digit growth throughout the year. The market in Europe was strengthened by favourable exchange rates, strong mobile growth and by businesses finally replacing their PCs, " said Ranjit Atwal, analyst of Gartner?s Computer Platforms group in London.

In 2004, Dell and Fujitsu/Siemens gained most share, acquired in the mobile PC segment (see table 3). Both increased their total market share by 1.5 percent compared to 2003. Hewlett Packard faced profitability challenges during 2004 and recorded the lowest growth among the top five vendors.

Table 3
Preliminary EMEA PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2004
(Thousands of Units)
Company 2004 Shipments 2004 Market Share (%) 2003 Shipments 2003 Market Share (%) 2003-2004 Growth (%)
Hewlett-Packard 9,926 16.1 8,871 16.4 11.9
Dell Computer 6,557 10.6 4,949 9.1 32.5
Acer 4,358 7.1 3,419 6.3 27.5
Fujitsu Siemens 4,215 6.8 2,870 5.3 46.9
IBM 3,066 5.0 2,565 4.7 19.5
Others 33,640 54.5 31,493 58.1 6.8
Total 61,762 100.0 54,167 100.0 14.0
Note: Data Includes Desk-based PCs, mobile PCs and IA servers. Source: Gartner Dataquest (January 2005)

"In the fourth quarter of 2004, the EMEA market experienced a weaker than expected desk-based consumer market," Mr. Atwal added. "However this was balanced out by strong demand for notebook PCs from business users. Prices remain under significant pressure. Many retailers are finding it difficult to sell at anything other than products at entry level prices, although average prices for commercial PCs remained stable despite the continued depreciation of the dollar versus the Euro."

On a vendor basis, Acer produced the strongest market growth yet again, with 35.5 percent year on year growth in the fourth quarter. It posted strong growth in shipments of desktop PCs and extended its lead in the EMEA mobile PC market. Hewlett Packard's market focus remained inconsistent with a poor quarter compared to its main rivals. Despite achieving strong growth in the consumer PC market, HP's shipments of commercial PCs were flat year-on-year, leading to only single digit growth overall.

The EMEA PC market continues to move at two speeds: the combined growth of the top 10 PC vendors was closer to 20 percent, whilst vendors in local country markets recorded less than 5 percent growth.

In 2005, Gartner foresees growth in EMEA to slow down creating a very challenging environment, which will become even more competitive as IBM/Lenovo reveals its EMEA strategy.

In the Asia/Pacific, shipments increased 13.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004. Both China and India showed strong. During the fourth quarter, many vendors typically stimulate demand with aggressive prices and accessory bundles.

Latin America showed the strongest fourth quarter growth, with PC shipments increasing 24.7 percent. Gartner analysts said PC ownership continues to be driven by increased awareness, cheaper and more available credit, lower prices and the appearance of new brands, such as Gateway in Mexico.

These results are preliminary. Final statistics will be available soon to clients of Gartner's PC Quarterly Statistics Worldwide by Region program. This program offers a comprehensive and timely picture of the worldwide PC market, allowing product planning, distribution, marketing and sales organizations to keep abreast of key issues and their future implications around the globe. To subscribe to this program, please call 408-468-8000. Additional research can be found on Gartner's Client Platforms Focus Area on Gartner's Web site.

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