Flagging PC sales continue in Asia-Pacific, says IDC

While Asia-Pacific PC shipments continued to drop in the second quarter this year, the Australian market was one of the few bouffant PC markets in the region, according to IDC.

Preliminary figures show the Australian market grew between 10 and 12 per cent during the quarter, surpassing the global growth of 7 per cent year on year.

Bernie Esner, senior PC analyst with IDC, said the local performance was driven in part by the purchasing activities of the large business and government sectors during the quarter, which is historically the best for PC sales.

However, he cautioned that some warning signs have appeared.

"Each quarter in our industry is like a year in any other business because of the rapid product rotations and relentless price cuts on superseded models," he said.

"Most resellers and mass merchants were forced to promote financing options, like rental, leasing and interest-free terms."

IDC figures show the rest of the region didn't fare as well, slowed primarily by the region's persisting economic problems and increasing price sensitivity.

The decline in PC shipments is directly related to the economic troubles of the region, and IDC is closely watching for another round of currency devaluations. If the Japanese yen continues to fall there will be more pressure on the Korean and Chinese currencies.

China is the largest PC market in the region, accounting for 39 per cent of total unit shipments in the second quarter, according to IDC.

Compaq's acquisition of Digital boosted it to the No. 1 position with about 10 per cent of regional sales.

IDC said it would be difficult to bump Compaq from that slot, but admitted the company faces organisational challenges in melding the two firms together.

IBM now falls into second place, but had the best showing among the top five in unit shipments with a 24 per cent increase over last quarter.

Volumes dropped

Hewlett-Packard is in third position, though its volumes dropped for the first time in years - down 3 per cent from the same quarter last year, according to IDC.

Legend Group leapt into the No. 4 slot for reg-ional PC shipments. Despite the grim outlook, IDC predicts the high growth rate could come back.

There are still many countries in the region that are under-penetrated when it comes to PCs, particularly China, India and Indonesia. In addition, there will be a lot of pent-up demand for computers, so that once the economy stabilises, Asia-Pacific could continue to be the world's fastest growing PC market.

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