There won’t be a lot of holiday joy for computer makers this season, according to Dataquest Inc., a research division of Gartner Inc.. Worldwide personal computer shipments are projected to reach 35.1 million units in the fourth quarter of 2002, a 1.5 percent increase from the same period last year, Dataquest reports. That may sound good, however, during the fourth quarter, computer vendors usually see a much bigger spike up in sales during the holidays.
“The gloomy economic situation is likely to affect U.S. and Japan holiday season purchases,” said George Shiffler, principal analyst for Gartner Dataquest’s computing platforms and economics research. “Given that home personal computer penetration is relatively high in the world’s developed economies, limited funds may induce users to extend the life of their computers. Many families may also choose other devices such as game consoles, DVD players and digital cameras instead of upgrading their old personal computers.”
The worldwide personal computer industry is on pace for computer shipments to reach 127.3 million units in 2002, a 1.8 percent increase over 2001 shipments. The industry will see single-digit growth in 2003, as worldwide personal shipments are forecast for a 7 percent increase, Dataquest projects. Economic uncertainty and its effects on business and consumer confidence will continue to impact PC sales in 2002 and 2003, according to Shiffler.
“On a regional basis, the U.S. economy has clearly bottomed out, and it remains weak and hesitant,” he added. “Japan and Western Europe appear to be backsliding and war jitters have upped the price of oil.”
There’s also a lack of “compelling technologies that will inspire consumers to purchase a PC this holiday season, said Charles Smulders, vice president for Gartner Dataquest’s Computing Platforms Worldwide group. “Rewriteable DVD prices are anticipated to fall, but the ongoing battles between rewriteable DVD drive formats (DVD-RW or DVD+RW) continue.”
“Uncertainty over the outcome of this format war is at least partially likely to undermine the effect of lower drive prices,” Smulders said.