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Leading market research firm Gartner Inc. believes worldwide PC shipments in 2004 increased 11.8% from 2003, due to strong mobile PC sales, according to preliminary results of the company’s study.

Global PC Market Grows 11.8%

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

Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2004*

Company

2004 Shipments (in thousands)

2004 Market share

2003 Shipments (in thousands)

2003 Market share

2003-2004 Growth

Dell

30 995

16.4%

25 169

14.9%

23.1%

HP

27 567

14.6%

24 624

14.6%

12%

IBM

10 381

5.5%

8929

5.3%

16.3%

Fujitsu/FSC

7134

3.8%

6275

3.7%

13.7%

Acer

6399

3.4%

4937

2.9%

29.6%

Others

106.502

56.4%

99 125

58.6%

7.4%

Total

188 978

100%

169 058

100%

11.8%

Dell strengthened its lead in the worldwide vendor market with solid performance in all regions. Gartner claims that in the fourth quarter falling component prices allowed Dell to further lower prices and gain margin and market share.

HP’s PC shipments increased 12% 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 US and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) markets.

US PC Shipments Increased 8.3%

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

Preliminary US PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2004*

Company

2004 Shipments (in thousands)

2004 Market share

2003 Shipments (in thousands)

2003 Market share

2003-2004 Growth

Dell

18 878

30.3%

15 944

27.7%

18.4%

HP

11 453

18.4%

10 708

18.6%

7%

Gateway

3601

5.8%

3622

6.3%

-0.6%

IBM

2907

4.7%

2727

4.7%

6.6%

Apple

1965

3.2%

1693

2.9%

16.1%

Others

23 473

37.7%

22 822

39.7%

2.9%

Total

62 279

100%

57 515

100%

8.3%

“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.

PC Market of EMEA Raises 14%

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

Preliminary EMEA PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2004*

Company

2004 Shipments (in thousands)

2004 Market share

2003 Shipments (in thousands)

2003 Market share

2003-2004 Growth

HP

9926

16.1%

8871

16.4%

11.9%

Dell

6557

10.6%

4949

9.1%

32.5%

Acer

4358

7.1%

3419

6.3%

27.5%

Fujitsu/FSC

4215

6.8%

2870

5.3%

46.9%

IBM

3066

5%

2565

4.7%

19.5%

Others

33 640

54.5%

31 493

58.1%

6.8%

Total

61 762

100%

54 167

100%

14.0%

“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. Both increased their total market share by 1.5% compared to 2003. HP faced profitability challenges during 2004 and recorded the lowest growth among the top five vendors.

“In the fourth quarter of 2004, the EMEA market experienced a weaker than expected desk-based consumer market. 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,” Mr. Atwal added.

On a vendor basis, Acer produced the strongest market growth yet again, with 35.5% 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. HP 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%, whilst vendors in local country markets recorded less than 5% 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.

Asia/Pacific, Latin America Markets Expand 13.1%, 24.7% Respectively

In the Asia/Pacific, shipments increased 13.1% 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%. 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.

*Gartner's shipments estimates include desktops, IA32 servers and notebooks.

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