18 October 2002 Systems giant Hewlett-Packard (HP) has already lost the leadership of the PC market it gained when it merged with rival Compaq in May. According to new figures from analysts IDC, Dell regained its lead of the global PC market in the third quarter with a 16% share, just ahead of HP’s 15.5%.
The ease with which Dell re-captured top spot surprised many analysts, who had expected HP’s lead to be eroded more slowly.
Overall, shipments grew by 3.8% to 32.6 million units in the third quarter compared to the same period a year earlier. This was the first quarter of growth recorded by IDC in 15 months. The Western European market also improved, bolstered by sales to the small and medium sized business (SMB) sector and the mobile computing segment.
But Loren Loverde, director of IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, remained cautious.
“While business investment remains soft, it continues to improve slowly and should gain momentum as company financials respond to restructuring efforts of the past year. The consumer segment is also improving gradually despite uncertainty in the market. At the moment, we don’t expect a lot from consumers in the fourth quarter, but there is potential for growth,” said Loverde.
On top of that, PC vendors ought to be in better health now because inventories have been reduced and expectations for growth have become more realistic, added Loverde.
Despite losing its crown to Dell, there were some crumbs of comfort for HP. It managed sequential growth of 15% in its key US market compared to the previous quarter, although this was down slightly in contrast to the same period a year earlier.
IDC was also bullish on HP’s prospects in the PC market. “[It] has improved its growth dramatically from the second quarter and appears to be overcoming merger related challenges fairly quickly,” concluded IDC.