Hewlett-Packard Co. last year regained the lead in worldwide sales of PCs from Dell Computer Corp., according to separate reports released earlier this month by market research companies Gartner Dataquest Inc. and International Data Corp.
The battle played out against the backdrop of an overall increase in sales of PCs last year. Some 132.4 million of these machines were sold worldwide last year, a 2.7 percent increase over 2001 sales, according to Gartner Dataquest, of San Jose, Calif.
In the fourth quarter of last year, 38.4 million PCs were sold, 4 percent more than in the same quarter of 2001, according to IDC, of Framingham, Mass.
"Despite this growth, we still believe PC market demand is at the bottom of a growth cycle," said Charles Smulders, a Gartner Dataquest analyst.
HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., came out on top of both surveys, with 16.1 percent of the PC market compared with 15.7 percent for Dell in the IDC report.
IBM was next with 5.8 percent, followed by the Fujitsu Ltd. and Siemens AG joint venture at 4.3 percent and NEC Corp. at 3.3 percent, IDC said.
HP had 16.2 percent of the worldwide market for the full year in 2002, compared with 15.2 for Dell, according to the Gartner Dataquest numbers. That report pegged IBM, NEC and Toshiba Corp. as the next-three-biggest PC sellers.
Dell, of Round Rock, Texas, had the largest percentage growth in the fourth quarter of last year compared with the fourth quarter of 2001, at 24.2 percent. It also continued to dominate the U.S. market with more than 29 percent. But officials at HP pointed out that its sales are on an upswing, too.
"What was more telling is sequential growth in [the fourth quarter] from [the third quarter]; we outgrew Dell, and we outgrew the market," said Jim McDonnell, vice president of marketing for HPs Personal Systems division.
McDonnell said HP and Compaq Computer Corp. did see some contraction in sales as the companies two customer bases overlapped after the completion of their merger last spring. But that overlap has shaken out, and by focusing on keeping prices competitive and bringing better products to market, McDonnell said he expects HP to remain a top seller of PCs this year.
"Were going to push really hard in driving innovation back in the PC business," McDonnell said.