PC sales drop in 2000, PC Data says

By Margret Johnston, InfoWorld |  Hardware

RETAIL AND DIRECT sales of desktop PCs declined by about 24 percent in December, representing the fifth consecutive month of decline and the second in double digits, according to preliminary sales results released by PC Data.

Retail and direct sale channels sold slightly more than 1 million desktop PCs in the quarter, PC Data said in a release Wednesday. For the year 2000, unit sales of PCs sold through stores, direct resellers, and Internet resellers were down 0.8 percent to 10.1 million units, the first annual decline ever reported by PC Data, which tracks the sales of software, hardware, and video games.

For the entire fourth quarter, unit sales were slightly below 2.5 million units, more than 18 percent below the fourth quarter of 1999. The average price was about $872.

The decline in 2000 was due to many factors, including higher prices, the success of the ISP rebate programs in 1999, and the lack of a compelling reason to upgrade, said Stephen Baker, PC Data's vice president of technology products research and analysis, in the release. Despite weaker PC sales, the overall computer products business remains attractive, Baker said. PC Data anticipates that computer retailers will see a 10 percent to 12 percent increase in revenue for fourth quarter due to a shift away from PCs and toward digital devices. For example, sales of handheld devices more than doubled in November compared with November 1999. Other devices showing healthy revenue increases in November 2000 were MP3 players, Web PC cameras, digital cameras, and mice.

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