Apple and Gateway post huge gains in PC shipments

Framingham (MA) - Latest PC shipment data released by market research firm IDC indicates that the PC market may grow faster in 2005 than originally expected. All large PC manufacturers achieved strong gains in the third quarter of this year, with Apple and Gateway leading the growth.

IDC's preliminary PC shipment forecast estimates global PC shipment growth in Q3 at 17.1 percent, versus the firm's August forecast of 13.3 percent. While the firm has not yet provided details on which specific segments were responsible for the increase in shipments, IDC said that both low-cost and notebook systems in general continued to drive the market forward. Analyst Richard Shim told TG Daily that exact figures are still being calculated, but especially notebook shipments were "high" and "very high" in some cases.

Even the recently slowing US PC market showed healthy gains, with shipments estimated to come in about 11 percent above the third quarter of 2004.

"Notebook adoption continued to drive PC growth in the U.S. complemented by the desktop market which was stronger than expected due to aggressive pricing," Shim said. "The third quarter is typically defined by the back-to-school season, which was particularly strong this year. Notebooks were a significant influence in the consumers' back-to-school shopping and that carried over to other markets."

In the US, Dell and HP had a solid quarter with substantial growth in shipments and market shares. However, the mid-tier segment with manufacturers such as Gateway and Apple, on position 3 and 5 of IDC's ranking, surprised analysts with their unusually high gains in shipment growth. Apple's shipments climbed by almost 45 percent, Gateway's shipments increased by 35.2 percent. Lenovo also did well: While not posting any increased shipments over Q3 2004, Shim said that this quarter was all about establishing the shipping infrastructure. "We thought it would take Lenovo longer to get their shipping in order. It's a promising result. Now they have to prove that they can grow," he said.

Gateway and Apple showed in the most recent quarter that there is still opportunity left in the mid-tier segment. After a painful restructuring process, Gateway continued to improve channel efficiency and built on its retail strategy to grow its business. Apple leverages devices such as its iPod nano to successfully attract attention to its computer systems. IDC also believes that the refresh of the Mac mini helped to drive shipments.

On a global basis, Dell kept its top spot with overall sales growth of 17.8 percent which translated into 9.5 million computers shipped during the quarter; HP followed with 17.9 growth and 8.5 million systems. Lenovo was able to more than triple its shipments from 1.2 million to 4.1 million computers and now is ranked as the third largest system builder worldwide.

Top 5 Vendors, US PC shipments, Q3 2005; Preliminary results; Source: IDC

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VendorQ3 2005 Shipments in 1000sMarket Share in %Q3 2004 Shipments in 1000sMarket Share in %Growth in %