Season may not be merry

As the PC industry gears up for the heavy Christmas buying season, the NPD Group says third-quarter sales may be soft.

CNET News staff
As the PC industry gears up for the heavy Christmas buying period, one research group today said it may be a soft season.

The NPD Group, which measures the purchase plans of computers for computer hardware and actual retail sales, said third-quarter sales may be lower than anticipated, according to survey results.

In its National Survey of Hardware Ownership, NPD found over two percent of households surveyed planned to buy a PC in the next six months, compared with four percent for the same period a year ago. NPD conducts quarterly a field survey of 15,000 households nationwide.

The report comes on the heels of good news for the personal computer industry. Both Dataquest and International Data Corporation reported double-digit growth in U.S. and worldwide markets for this year's second quarter.

But some weren't surprised by the predictions. "Last summer, consumers were geared up to buy a PC as Windows 95 and its compatible software were about to be introduced, so some decline in intent was expected. However, we have seen two consecutives quarters in which the 'intent rate' has dropped significantly," said Greg Starzynski, vice president of retail relations.