PC shipments kicked by World Cup

While all of Europe was busy chanting for their favorite soccer teams, PC shipments slowed down.

Michael Kanellos Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.
Michael Kanellos
3 min read
Blame it on the World Cup and economic fears, but PC market growth slowed down a bit in the second quarter.

Shipments of desktops, notebooks, and servers containing chips from Intel or Advanced Micro Devices grew by 9.5 percent in the second quarter, according to IDC, compared with the same period a year ago. PC shipments have been growing in double digits for the past few years.

However, while IDC pegged PC market growth in the single digits, Gartner reported that the overall market grew a total of 11 percent in the last year.

Both firms agreed that Europe was a bottleneck for the PC industry. Sales on that continent slowed down considerably, possibly because of excess inventory and World Cup fever, IDC stated. Shipments grew by only 7 percent in Europe, half the growth rate in the first quarter and well below the 12 percent growth rate IDC expected. The strong euro is one factor that has helped keep PC shipments high.

Gartner said sales in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region (EMEA) were up 7 percent, and tied the slow growth there to higher-than-normal "finished goods inventory."

In the U.S., price cuts helped increase shipments 6.1 percent, according to IDC and 6.4 percent, according to Gartner. Those numbers are slightly slower too. Gartner said U.S. shipments grew 7.4 percent in the first quarter.

Dell saw shipments grow by 10 percent, barely faster than the market, IDC said. That led to a slight market share increase worldwide to 19.2 percent. In the second quarter the year before, Dell posted a 19 percent market share.

Gartner said Dell's sales grew 11.6 percent in the quarter and that its market share was 17.7 percent.

Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Acer--which are ranked second, third and fourth worldwide, respectively--all gained on the Round Rock, Texas, giant. IDC said HP saw shipments grow by 13 percent, and gave HP a market share of 15.9 percent, up slightly from its 15.4 percent market share in the second quarter a year ago. Gartner put HP's numbers at 13.8 percent shipment growth, with a market share of 14.8 percent.

IDC said Lenovo saw shipments grow by 12.8 percent to give it a 7.7 percent market share. Gartner said the company's shipments grew 13.5 percent and its market share settle at 13.5 percent.

Acer, which has grown faster than any major PC maker for the past two years, continued its streak by growing shipments by 35.7 percent, according to IDC, which also put Acer's market share at 5.4 percent worldwide. Acer primarily concentrates on Europe and Asia and has grown faster than 50 percent in some recent quarters. Gartner said Acer's numbers were 34.7 percent sales growth with a market share of 5.2 percent.

In January, IDC said PC shipments would likely increase by 10.5 percent in 2006, following 16.4 percent growth in 2005. Double digit growth for the year isn't out of the question.

Shipments grew by 13.4 percent in the first quarter, according to Gartner, and Intel is releasing a number of new processors that are getting strong reviews from benchmark testers. Vista, the next big Windows upgrade, however, won't occur this year.

Gartner reported that Apple Computer gained market share in the second quarter, with its share growing to 4.6 percent from 4.3 percent a year ago. Those gains, however, were outpaced by both HP and Gateway.

According to IDC, Apple's sales, while still smaller than its major competitors, grew by double digits in the second quarter. The firm said Apple's sales of portable computers grew by 60 percent at its retail locations, and that overall sales at its retail locations grew by 50 percent. IDC attributed the growth to a successful transition to Intel-based chips.