Gartner: Iraq war will stall PC market

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The Australian PC market is on the road to recovery growing 8.3 percent year-on-year in Q4, 2002 but a war with Iraq could put a dampener on a predicted year of strong PC growth, according to analyst Gartner Dataquest.

Andy Woo, computers and peripheral analyst for Gartner, said the health of the Australian PC market this year will hinge on whether there is a war with Iraq. If war erupts, the best the market can hope for is flat growth, he said.

However, there are clear indications that the PC market in Australia and across the Asia-Pacific region is back on track as the three-year PC replacement cycle drives growth.

For calendar 2002, HP took the number one spot in the Australian PC market with a 20.4 percent share – down from 21.3 percent in 2001 - and year-on-year growth of 4.6 percent. Dell was second with 11.6 percent of the market with a year-on-year growth rate of 8.6 percent. IBM was third with a 7.8 percent share, but sales declined 10.1 percent following its decision to pull out of the retail market in November 2001.

'Dell and HP have one-third of the [PC] market share in Australia. All you need is for these two vendors to have strong growth and that will skew the market completely. The bottom line is that the market is turning around,' said Woo.

Acer was the shining light in 2002 with a massive 149.3 percent growth rate, taking its share of the local market from 3.4 percent in 2001 to 7.7 percent in 2002. “[Acer] had a crap year in 2001, it dropped off the radar,' said Woo.

But a renewed channel focus and some big wins in the education market last year – including a 20,000 box rollout with the Victorian Department of Education, Employment and Training - saw Acer move back into the frame.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Legend took out the top spot in calendar 2002, shipping around 2.46 million units for an 11.4 percent share.

HP was second with around 2.25 million units for a 10.4 percent share, while IBM was third with around 1.55 million units for a 7.1 percent share. Number four player Dell - which shipped 1.23 million units across the region – took 5.7 percent of the market at a 23 percent year-on-year growth rate. Lillian Tay, senior analyst for Gartner's computing platforms Asia-Pacific, said Dell was focused on building its base in China and had maintained a strong hold on markets such as Australia, Malaysia and Singapore.

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