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Euro PDA biz sees first growth since 2000

Q4 sales rocket

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European PDA shipments reached a record 958,000 units during the last three months of 2003, market watcher IDC said this past Friday.

Q4's shipments were significantly higher than past quarters: up 38 per cent over those recorded in Q3 2002 and more than 47 per cent up on the previous quarter's 504,015 units.

During 2003, the sector also experienced its first growth year since 2000, IDC said. Annual shipments topped 2.6 million units - 27.5 per more than 2002's two million.

IDC pinpoints lower prices and bundle deals as key drivers for the vendors' successes during the quarter. Medion, a German PC vendors, has been a constant feature of the 2003 European PDA charts thanks to its Pocket PC/GPS bundle - the only PDA kit it offers. Almost all of its sales have come through the German retail chain, Aldi - Medion needs to seek new, wider channels if it wants to maintain its impressive momentum, IDC warned.

Palm remained 2003's leading vendor, despite falling into second place in Q3 and Q4, behind HP. Naturally, Palm disputes the figures, citing over-the-counter sales stats from market researcher GfK which show it in first place certainly in Q3 and possible in Q4, too. Upcoming Palm-oriented GPS products from satellite navigation specialist Navman may give a boost to the company.

According to IDC, however, HP's wide product range, targeting all price points and market segments during the quarter, helped it maintain its lead, playing in its 'high end' brand to win sales at the other end of the market with its low-end product.

That's a trick Sony has largely failed to capitalise upon, the researcher said. However, two low-end models released in time for the Christmas sales period accounted for 80 per cent of Sony's PDA sales in the region, which may well persuade to address the low end more forcefully having now established itself in the market's upper reaches. ®

IDC Western European Handheld Device Vendor Shares, 4Q03

Rank Vendor 4Q03 % Share 4Q02 % Share Growth
1 HP 353,665 36.9% 135,000 19.5% 162.0%
2 Palm 287,725 30.0% 355,000 51.2% -19.0%
3 Medion 97,000 10.1%   0.0% N/A
4 Sony 76,130 7.9% 78,900 11.4% -3.5%
5 Dell 39,975 4.2%   0.0% N/A
  Others 103,555 10.8% 124,150 17.9% -16.6%
  Total 958,050   693,050   38.2%
Source: IDC, 2004

IDC Western European Handheld Device Vendor Shares, 2003

Rank Vendor 2003 % Share 2002 % Share Growth
1 Palm 825,615 32.3% 858,145 43.0% -3.8%
2 HP 810,315 31.7% 564,445 28.3% 43.6%
3 Medion 202,000 7.9%   0.0% N/A
4 Sony 189,660 7.4% 162,535 8.1% 16.7%
5 Dell 121,900 4.8%   0.0% N/A
  Others 407,485 15.9% 412,435 20.6% -1.2%
  Total 2,556,975   1,997,560   28.0%
Source: IDC, 2004

IDC Western European Handheld Device Operating System Shares, 4Q03

Operating System 4Q03 % Share 4Q02 % Share Growth
Windows Mobile 570,670 59.6% 222,835 32.2% 156.1%
Palm OS 372,990 38.9% 443,920 64.1% -16.0%
Other 14,390 1.5% 26,300 3.8% -45.3%
Total 958,050   693,055   38.2%
Source: IDC, 2004

IDC Western European Handheld Device Operating System Shares, 2003

Operating System 2003 % Share 2002 % Share Growth
Windows Mobile 1,422,765 55.6% 819,330 41.0% 73.6%
Palm OS 1,038,590 40.6% 1,086,415 54.4% -4.4%
Other 95,620 3.7% 91,815 4.6% 4.1%
Total 2,556,975   1,997,560   28.0%
Source: IDC, 2004

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