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December dreary for US PC sales, but 1999 was better

HP sales up 87 per cent during year, Apple up 55 per cent. industry average 23.7 per cent

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US PC retailers had a very disappointing December, with the Christmas season experiencing the lowest month-on-month growth of any month during 1999, according to the latest figures from market researcher PC Data. Last month, unit sales of desktop PCs through US retail, online and mail order channels increased just 12 per cent on December 1998's sales. For the year as a whole, unit sales rose 23.7 per cent, with around ten million PCs shipping during the year. The revenue generated by these sales totalled around $9.2 billion, pretty much the same as last year, said PC Data, thanks to a fall of almost 20 per cent in the average price of a PC, which ended the year at $916. Sub-$1000 PCs accounted for just under 75 per cent of the market in December, the first time more expensive PCs took more than a quarter of the overall market since the summer. Even with that dip, the sub-$1000 category saw 325 per cent growth last month over December 1998's figures. For PC vendors, Compaq lead the market in both December 1999 and for the year as a whole, taking 34.5 per cent and 33.4 per cent of the market, respectively. Hewlett-Packard notched up shares of 30.4 per cent and 24.8 per cent. eMachines scored 13.4 per cent in December and 102 per cent for the full year. Apple took 11.6 per cent and 10 per cent of the market, for those two periods, respectively. The good news for Apple is that it more than doubled the industry's annual growth rate, with an increase in unit sales of 55 per cent. However, the growth record goes to HP, which achieved an increase of 87 per cent during the year. Compaq scored 26.5 per cent, just a couple of points above the industry average. ®

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