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 user 2003-12-22 at 9:48:00 am Views: 133
  • #4310

    PC shipments rising with holidays, and into 2004
    NEW YORK, Dec 11 (Reuters) – Notebook Computers are at the top of many shoppers’ gift lists this holiday season, with personal computers being shipped out at a rate not seen since the tech boom ended, analysts said on Thursday.

    Market researcher IDC Forecast that 2003 PC shipments will outpace 2000 — a record year — by 9 percent. PC shipments are likely to rise at a rate of 11.4 percent over last year.

    “The first couple of months of the fourth quarter have been strong,” IDC analyst Roger Kay said.

    Consumers are replacing PCs with more powerful ones that have bigger hard drives for their pictures and music and in particular, IDC said, they are buying notebooks to log onto increasingly popular wireless networks.

    It’s not clear if the higher number of PCs being shipped will translate into profits given that they are being sold at low prices, but as more notebooks are sold, IDC said it expects the value of the PCs shipped to increase by 4 percent in 2004.

    So far this holiday season, both No. 1 PC maker Dell Inc. (NasdaqNM: color=#0000ff DELL color=#0000ffNews) and its chief rival Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: color=#0000ff HPQ color=#0000ffNews) have said that shoppers are once again interested in PCs.

    Dell said on Thursday that its U.S. consumer Web site had logged nearly 5 million visitors during the first week of December, up from about 4 million visitors during the same period a year earlier. That’s on top of the 2 million visitors it logged over the Thanksgiving weekend, a spokesman said.

    And earlier this week, HP Chief Executive Carly Fiorina said during a meeting with investors that the consumer business was on track, saying that the company had “good Christmas selling.”

    The fourth quarter is traditionally the strongest for PC makers. But in recent years, digital cameras, DVD players and other consumer electronics have overshadowed computers emerged as the hot items as buyers made due with the computer systems they already had.

    In that downtime in the PC market, Dell and other PC makers expanded into consumer electronics markets with new products such as large-screen televisions and digital music players.

    IDC analyst Roger Kay said that consumers have been shopping this quarter, buying an increasing number of notebooks over desktops. Notebooks are pricier than desktops, but fit the growing demand for mobile computing.

    IDC said it now expects fourth-quarter PC growth of 15.3 percent, pushing 2003 growth up to 11.4 percent. It sees that 11.4 percent rate continuing into 2004, compared with its previous forecast for 10.2 percent growth.

    Total shipments in 2003 are now expected to be more than 152 million with their total value flat at just over $175 billion, IDC said.

    In addition to Dell and HP, International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: color=#0000ff IBM color=#0000ffNews) and Gateway Inc. (NYSE: color=#0000ff GTW color=#0000ffNews) also sell PCs. (Additional reporting by Duncan Martell in San Francisco)