HP Crowned Top PC Seller

Hewlett-Packard, Dell sit atop the PC heap according to reports from IDC and Dataquest.

Hewlett-Packard Co. in 2002 regained the lead in worldwide sales of PCs from Dell Computer Corp., according to separate reports released Thursday by market research firms Dataquest Inc. and International Data Corp.

The battle played out against the backdrop of an overall increase in the sales of personal computers last year. Some 132.4 million of these machines were sold worldwide in 2002, a 2.7 percent increase over 2001 sales, according to Dataquest, of San Jose, Calif.

In the fourth quarter of 2002, 38.4 million PCs were sold, 4 percent more than in the same quarter of 2001, according to IDC, of Framingham, Mass.

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, according to IDC. IBM was next with 5.8 percent, followed by Fujitsu Siemens at 4.3 percent and NEC at 3.3 percent, IDC said.

HP had 16.2 percent of the worldwide market for the full year 2002, compared with 15.2 for Dell, according to the Dataquest numbers. That report pegged IBM, NEC and Toshiba as the next three biggest PC sellers.

Dell, of Round Rock, Texas, had largest percentage growth in the fourth quarter of 2002, 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 their sales are on an upswing, too.

"What was more telling is sequential growth in Q4 from Q3; we outgrew Dell and we outgrew the market," said Jim McDonnell, vice president of marketing for HPs Personal Systems division.

McDonnell explained that HP and Compaq Computer Corp. did see some contraction in sales as its 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, he expects HP to remain a top seller of PCs in 2003.

"Were going to push really hard in driving innovation back in the PC business," McDonnell said.