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2001 ‘bloodbath’ for PC vendors

Outlook mixed as shipments fell last year

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2001 was a "bloodbath" for vendors after the number of PCs shipped last year dipped for the first time since 1985, according to the latest figures from Dataquest.

Despite the fall the PC market could begin to pick up again during the second half of the year as long as economic conditions begin to improve.

That's the assessment of analysts at Dataquest who revealed that 128 million PCs were shipped world-wide in 2001 - a drop of 4.6 per cent on the year before.

In the US, PC shipments slumped 11 per cent amid worsening economic conditions and the belief that the market is reaching saturation.

The fall in demand for PCs hit all the leading vendors except Dell, which saw its shipments increase 13 per cent to 17 million units.

According to Dataquest, the PC industry has not experienced such a difficult year since 1985, when world-wide PC shipments fell 2.3 per cent and US shipments dropped a massive 21.8 per cent.

Despite the gloomy news analysts believe that 2002 could see a modest upturn in demand. Analysts said current estimates suggest that world-wide PC shipments are set to fall 4 percent in Q1 2002 but finish the year with a growth rate of 4 percent.

Said Charles Smulders of Gartner Dataquest's Computing Platforms Worldwide group: "While there is a mood of optimism in the industry, having made it through the bloodbath that was 2001, evidence for an immediate improvement in the first quarter of 2002 is far from clear.

"On the positive side, it does not appear that the market is getting worse. We do not expect to see a significant upturn in growth until the fourth quarter of 2002. This based on an economic upturn in the second half of the year, he said." ®

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