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Laptops continue to drive PC shipments

Europe out-ships US

Worldwide PC shipments rose by 17.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2005 to 61.1m, according to new figures released by IDC.

IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker reveals that although shipments in North America were behind forecasts, international markets were able to pick up the slack to produce the third consecutive quarter of growth greater than 17 per cent.

According to the figures, full year PC shipments totalled 208.6m, up 16.4 per cent on the preceding year.

In the US, demand for portable PCs drove growth during the fourth quarter to the detriment of desktop PCs. It was a similar story in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), where portable PC adoption increased throughout the region. Business investment also contributed to increased PC shipments.

In Japan, persistent consumer demand helped sustain sales although overall growth declined slightly. In Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), PC shipments rose rapidly during the fourth quarter even with a slowdown in commercial growth in India.

"Despite market concern for consumer spending, fourth quarter demand remained strong with most regions coming in ahead of expectations," said Loren Loverde, director of IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.

"Although growth has declined slightly from the second and third quarters, the market's resilience in the face of rising interest rates, high fuel prices, a weaker Euro, and other potential inhibitors puts the market in a great position to start 2006," Loverde added.

Dell remains the world's leading PC manufacturer and the company grew its share of shipments to 17.2 per cent from 16.8 per cent 12 months earlier, with year-over-year growth climbing by more than 20 per cent.

H-P also had a good quarter with worldwide shipments rising 15.7 per cent. The company saw year-on-year growth of 15.8 per cent. Lenovo meanwhile saw global sales stabilise at around 13 per cent during the fourth quarter and it performed particularly well in Asia/Pacific where shipments rose by 30 per cent. The firm is currently the world's third biggest PC manufacturer with 7.2 percent of the market.

Acer was the fourth biggest PC manufacturer, with sales up 52.5 pe rcent during the fourth quarter while Fujitsu/Fujitsu Siemens was ranked fifth, with sales up 23.2 per cent. Both vendors have market share of 5.4 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively.

"The market continues a fundamental shift toward mobile computing that is contributing significantly to top-line growth," said David Daoud, IDC's research manager Personal Computing and PC Tracker Programs.

"Portable PCs are expected to capture a record 38 per cent of Client PC shipments in the United States this quarter, while incentive strategies for Desktops based on low prices alone may have reached their limits. Still, there were ample opportunities in the fourth quarter for vendors who offered desktops as home digital appliances, a trend we anticipate could reignite the desktop market in 2006 and 2007 with the launch of Microsoft Vista, Intel's Viiv, and PC vendors' expected endorsement of these initiatives," added Daoud. ®

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