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Euro PC sales – Gartner cheers up

Replacement cycle

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The European PC market will pick up next year, as people start to replace older machines bought in 1998 and 1999, both years which saw strong sales.

Encouraging signs, too, in the server market, where after two consecutive quarters of declining sales, the third quarter saw a four per cent growth. Shipments to corporates rose from 256,000 to 267,000 in the third quarter. However, the figures are still no match for the 30 per cent growth in the first half of 1999.

According to research from Gartner Group, PC shipments for 2000 will reach 35.4 million units - up just ten per cent on 1999. The researchers said that sales in 2000 had been dampened by a number of factors including uncertainty over the implementation of Windows 2000.

However, we can expect stronger growth-14.6 per cent - in 2001, with shipments reaching 40 million units.

"We will see renewed growth in 2001," said Jon Hardcastle, an analyst at Gartner. He said that this would be fuelled by company's replacing old PCs. "The market had a strong year in 1998, and we expect that in 2001, three years later, this will translate into a large number of three-year-old PCs reaching their 'use by date'," he concluded.

In the server market, the UK, Switzerland and the Nordic region generally showed higher than average growth. Compaq held onto its position as market leader, with a slightly diminished 32 per cent of the market. Last year the big Q held 34 per cent of sales.

Sales of Intel-type servers suffered a slow down - gaining only one per cent growth. Shipments of Unix/Risc-type machines, meanwhile, soared by 43 per cent. Gartner said that front-end Web and back-end engines were creating a strong demand for Unix systems.

The sales of mobile PCs had been the high spot in 2000 for the analysts at Gartner, but they warned that having high growth rates with a small customer base is unsurprising, and said that people should expect to see this growth rate slow as the market matures.

Overall, the researchers said that the PC market could reasonably expect compound growth of 10.7 per cent until 2004, when shipments would exceed 53 million units. ®

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