PC sales drop in 2000, PC Data says

Retail and direct sales of desktop PCs declined by about 24% in December, representing the fifth consecutive month of decline and the second in double digits, according to preliminary sales results released by PC Data.

          Retail and direct sales of desktop PCs declined by about 24% in December, representing the fifth consecutive month of decline and the second in double digits, according to preliminary sales results released by PC Data.

          Retail and direct sale channels sold slightly more than 1 million desktop PCs in the quarter, PC Data said in a release last week. For the year 2000, unit sales of PCs sold through stores, direct resellers and internet resellers were down 0.8% to 10.1 million units, the first annual decline ever reported by PC Data, which tracks the sales of software, hardware and video games.

          For the entire fourth quarter, unit sales were slightly below 2.5 million units, more than 18% below the fourth quarter of 1999. The average price was about $US872.

          The decline in 2000 was due to many factors, including higher prices, the success of the Internet Service Provider (ISP) rebate programmes in 1999 and the lack of a compelling reason to upgrade, says Stephen Baker, PC Data’s vice president of technology products research and analysis, in the release.

          Despite weaker PC sales, the overall computer products business remains attractive, Baker says. PC Data anticipates that computer retailers will see a 10% to 12% increase in revenue for fourth quarter due to a shift away from PCs and toward digital devices. For example, sales of handheld devices more than doubled in November compared with November 1999. Other devices showing healthy revenue increases in November 2000 were MP3 players, web PC cameras, digital cameras and mice.

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