Worldwide PC market to improve in second half of 1998

Worldwide vendor shipments of PCs are on the rise for the second half of 1998 as a result of growing demand in many regions, according to IDC. Worldwide vendor shipments of PCs to distribution channels and to end-users in the third quarter will grow 11% over last year despite economic problems in the Asia-Pacific region and Russia, IDC predicts. The company expected to show the largest growth is Apple Computer.

Worldwide vendor shipments of PCs are on the rise for the second half of 1998 as a result of growing demand in many regions, according to International Data (IDC).

Worldwide vendor shipments of PCs to distribution channels and to end-users in the third quarter will grow 11%from last year's third quarter, despite economic problems in the Asia-Pacific region and Russia, IDC predicts. IDC defines vendor shipments as branded shipments, excluding OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) sales.

In the second half of 1998 shipments of PCs will rise by 12.2%, up from the 9.6% growth rate for the first half of the year. The total number of worldwide shipments of PCs is forecasted to grow by 11% for 1998 compared to last year, IDC said.

With 16% Western Europe will see the highest unit growth rate for this quarter, IDC said, attributing this to user's growing interest in the Internet and low-cost PCs, as well as PC vendors increased focus on the region.

The expanding low-cost PC market also boosted PC shipments in the US, which is expected to increase by 14%this quarter, IDC said. Growing consumer demand for enhanced portable computers also contributed to the growth in shipments.

The Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, will continue to see a dip in the number of shipments this quarter, IDC said. As in the first half of 1998, the region is estimated to post a 3% drop in PC shipments, due to economic problems in the region. The slumping demand for PCs is expected to result in a negative growth of about 2% for the whole year, IDC said.

In Japan unit volume will grow this quarter by about 2% over last year's third-quarter results. Shipments will be up from the second-quarter drop of 4%. Total shipments in Japan for the year are still expected to be down 4% over last year.

Larger vendors with broader product lines and geographic reach will see the most increase in PC shipments for the quarter, IDC said.

Apple Computer is expected to see the highest growth rate in the number of PCs shipped this quarter due to its recent roll-out of the iMac, IDC said. Dell Computer, with expanding growth across a range of product and customer segments, and Compaq Computer, with rising factory shipment growth, will also see increasing growth rates in PC shipments. Hewlett Packard, Gateway 2000 and Toshiba are expected to post share gains as well, due to strong shipments of portable PCs in the U.S.

IDC, based in Framingham, Massachusetts, can be reached at +1-508-872-8500 or at http://www.idc.com/

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