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IDC market research firm claimed recently that the PC market has seen a yet another quarter of steady growth, which was primarily conditioned by sales of affordable computers in the European markets and mobile computers in well-developed countries.

Worldwide Shipments Accelerate

Worldwide shipments jumped to 16.6% growth in the second quarter, according to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. Low-cost systems and portable adoption continue to be key market drivers, stimulating consumer adoption as well as commercial replacements. EMEA was once again a source of tremendous growth while other regions are also performing well. Worldwide growth was up more than 4% from May forecasts of 12.3%, while growth of 11.7% in the U.S. was in line with forecasts of 11.6%.

“This kind of growth in the PC market is just amazing. At some point we expect the flood of consumer and portable demand to let up, but so far falling prices and demand across regions and market segments continues to support growth. Such consistent growth raises the prospect that the recent replacement wave is being supplanted by growing adoption that could sustain higher growth into the future,” said Loren Loverde, director of IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.

“While desktop sales remain stimulated by record low prices, notebook adoption in the United States continues to accelerate. Segments that have shown sensitivity to pricing have been reacting positively to incentive pricing while fully endorsing mobile computing. This trend of notebook adoption in the U.S. market is expected to remain strong well into the forecast,” said David Daoud, research manager of Client Computing at IDC.

Dell Retains Leadership, Increases Share

Dell has managed to once again demonstrate over 13% year-on-year growth and sustain its leading position on the market. Furthermore, its share increased slightly quarter-over-quarter to 19.3%. Following a relatively slow first quarter performance, the company recaptured momentum with near 50% growth in Asia/Pacific, Latin America, and worldwide portable shipments, IDC notes.

HP – International shipment growth of nearly 23% helped HP to maintain its share of the market with worldwide growth of 16.3%. HP saw strong demand in Europe, where it maintains the market lead, and in Asia/Pacific.

Lenovo – Lenovo appears to be working through its merger issues fairly well. Worldwide growth of 7.7% for the combined companies was up from a merged 6.8% in the first quarter, and only 2.1% for IBM in Q1 2005. Although year-on-year growth in the United States was down almost 12%, U.S. shipments increased over 9% sequentially. Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), which now represents over 50% of the company's shipments, grew by over 18% year on year.

Acer – Acer continues to be very successful throughout EMEA, driving growth of over 65% with low-cost portables and desktops through an extensive distribution channel. The company also saw strong growth in Asia/Pacific and is developing operations in the Americas including a re-entry to retail in the United States.

Fujitsu/Fujitsu Seimens Computers (FSC) – Fujitsu Seimens continues to develop its European focus. While shipments in Japan have been flat over the past year, European shipments have grown by over 20% and now account for over 60% of the company's PC business.

Gateway – A year after its acquisition of eMachines and following distribution agreements with high profile channels, Gateway saw shipments rise by over 26% year on year. The growth is welcome evidence that the eMachines acquisition is bearing fruit and that the company will be ready for consumer, education, and small business sales in the second half of the year. Still, the growth comes after a fairly weak first quarter, and the company will need several quarters of solid growth to regain momentum.

Apple – Apple had another very strong quarter with growth of more than 37%. Growth in retail, Europe, and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) all grew by more than twice the worldwide rate. The Mac mini as well as the visibility and appeal of Apple's music business, including the iPod line, has clearly benefited the company's PC business and the company appears well positioned for education and consumer sales going into the second half of the year.

Regional Outlook

United States – As expected, year-on-year growth in the United States recovered from a first quarter that was constrained by slow public sector spending and a difficult comparison to a year ago. Public sector and consumer demand improved in the second quarter, while the business segment remained solid.

EMEA – Growing competition in the consumer notebook market is increasing attention on low cost systems and fuelling demand. Replacement and consumer activity, as well as investment related to European Union expansion and integration, helped boost overall EMEA growth above 20% after several quarters of growth in the high teens.

Japan – Consumer demand continues to recover gradually. Constrained by slow economic growth, competition from other consumer electronics, and high PC penetration, particularly of portables, growth is now rising in response to low prices and an aging installed base.

Asia/Pacific – Major markets continue to perform well with a notable rise in regional growth. Despite concerns of rising interest rates, oil prices, and efforts to manage the Chinese economy, business investment and consumer interest in low-cost PCs is accelerating the market.

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