HP regains lead in PC shipments in Q4

But Dell held on to its lead in shipments for the full year

Hewlett-Packard Co. regained the lead in worldwide PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2003, but Dell Inc. held on to its lead for the full year, as the PC industry recorded one of its better years in recent memory, according to preliminary figures released yesterday by IDC and Gartner Inc.

HP shipped 7.5 million PCs worldwide in the quarter, up 21% from its fourth-quarter 2002 shipments of 6.2 million. Dell followed with worldwide shipments of 7.2 million units, up 19.7% from its fourth-quarter 2002 tally of 6.1 million units, market research company IDC said in a statement.

Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner came up with similar numbers, with HP shipping 7.5 million units worldwide, an increase of 21.8% from the fourth quarter of 2002, and Dell shipping 7.1 million units, up 19.7% its year-earlier performance.

Total fourth-quarter PC shipments reached 48.4 million units, Gartner said in a statement, up 12% from the previous year. IDC pegged the total at 44.6 million units, an increase of 15.2%.

The fourth quarter is always a strong one for consumer purchases, and HP has a stronger presence among consumers with its focus on retail markets, said Roger Kay, vice president of client computing at IDC in Framingham, Mass.

"This shows it's still a two-horse race," he said. "The switching off is reflective of their [HP's and Dell's] differing segment focus -- in more commercial quarters, Dell gets back."

Commercial buying probably increased in the quarter, but not as fast as consumers picked up holiday gifts for themselves or their families, Kay said. The fourth quarter likely marked the start of a four- to five-quarter upswing in PC buying among businesses, he said.

For the full year, Dell shipped 25.8 million units, up 25% from its 2002 total of 20.7 million. HP came in second with 25 million units, up 14.5% from 2002 shipments of 21.8 million units worldwide, according to IDC.

Gartner reported slightly lower numbers for both companies, finding that Dell had shipped 25.3 million units, up 25.8% from 2002. HP followed with 24.2 million shipments for the year, up 12.3% from 2002.

Total worldwide PC shipments for 2003 were 152.6 million, according to IDC, and 168.9 million, according to Gartner. The total shipment numbers are different because Gartner counts a larger percentage of self-assembled and unbranded "white-box" PC systems, said Charles Smulders, the vice president of client platforms at Gartner.

IDC and Gartner both define their PC shipments as desktops, notebooks, ultraportable devices and servers based on chips from Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

The remaining spots in the top five vendors worldwide were filled by IBM, Fujitsu Siemens Computers (Holding) BV and Toshiba Corp. All posted double-digit percentage increases in year-over-year growth, except IBM, which grew at 12.2% according to IDC but only at 8.8% according to Gartner.

In the U.S., eMachines Inc. made a strong showing in the retail-dominated fourth quarter, edging out Gateway Inc. for fourth place among shipments to U.S. PC buyers. However, the companies both shipped just under 500,000 units, far fewer than HP and Dell, IDC said.

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

Bing’s AI chatbot came to work for me. I had to fire it.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon