Analysts: Compaq Remains Top Global PC Maker in '97

Compaq Computer Corp. maintained its top spot in the worldwide PC market in 1997 although Dell Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. led in shipment growth as all vendors shipped 15 percent more PCs than in 1996, according to preliminary figures released today by market researchers Dataquest Inc. and International Data Corp. (IDC).

Compaq Computer Corp. maintained its top spot in the worldwide PC market in 1997 although Dell Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. led in shipment growth as all vendors shipped 15 percent more PCs than in 1996, according to preliminary figures released today by market researchers Dataquest Inc. and International Data Corp. (IDC).

Sales in Europe offset weaknesses in Asia and Japan as a result of the region's economic crisis, IDC said. IDC also attributed worldwide PC growth to the burgeoning sub-US$1,000 consumer market.

According to IDC: Compaq held its strong worldwide lead with 12.6 percent market share and 40 percent growth in shipments; followed by IBM Corp. with 9.1 percent market share and 17 percent growth; Dell with 5.8 percent market share and 55 percent growth; HP with 5.6 percent market share and 50 percent growth; and Packard Bell-NEC with 5.2 percent market share representing a drop in share of 2 percent from last year.

Dataquest showed: Compaq with 12.4 percent market share and 42.4 percent growth in shipments; IBM with 8.8 percent market share and 18.6 percent growth; Dell with 5.6 percent market share and 62.3 percent growth; HP with 5.4 percent market share and 55.9 percent growth; and Packard Bell-NEC with 4.8 percent market share representing an 8.3 percent drop from last year.

IDC reported that a total of 79,938 million units were shipped worldwide for the year and Dataquest estimated that 82,070 million units shipped.

European sales picked up during the fourth quarter as a result of aggressive pricing and several countries instituting tax breaks to expand PC usage among consumers, IDC said.

In Japan, the soft economy dampened consumer demand resulting in a second consecutive negative growth quarter with factory shipments 13 percent below last year's level, according to IDC.

Meanwhile, the People's Republic of China rebounded in the fourth quarter as corporations resumed investing and expanding their IT projects, and Korea expects to record the largest unit sales for the year as several vendors cut prices to lessen inventory before the start of 1998, IDC said.

In the U.S., consumer demand was fueled by the emerging sub-$1,000 market that drew additional vendors including IBM and HP, while home sales fell short of expectations during the fourth quarter, the firm said. Improved execution and consumer marketing helped Gateway 2000 Inc. vault to the number four spot in the U.S. in the fourth quarter, IDC said.

Compaq's focus on efficiencies in manufacturing and distribution helped its fourth-quarter success, while IBM did well with inventory management, IDC said. IBM and Dell also had strong sales of commercial desktops and servers in the quarter, while Hewlett-Packard found growth outside the U.S. with its Pavilion products and slow growth with portables, the researcher said.

Packard Pell-NEC had another flat quarter as it struggled to build brand recognition as a viable commercial partner and transitions to a new business model, according to IDC.

IDC, based in Framingham, Massachusetts, is on the Web at http://www.idc.com/. Dataquest, a unit of Gartner Group, is in San Jose, California, and on the Web at http://www.dataquest.com/.

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