Dell still No. 1 in the UK

PC sales slow after Y2K investment, but Dell manages to keep lead in market share

Dell Computer is still No. 1 in the UK, ahead of Compaq Computer, according to new data from research firm IDC.

The computer maker's market share was 17.3 percent, up 8.8 percent from the same quarter last year. That compares to Compaq's 15.3 percent share, down from 16.9 percent a year ago.

IDC said Compaq's troubles were are partly due to huge slowdown in corporate sales as companies cut their spending after Y2K investment. This particularly hit large PC makers such as Compaq and IBM. Compaq still leads the market across Europe, however.

Dell and other companies have also successfully exploited Compaq's vulnerabilities as it reorganises its supply chain. For the last few quarters, Compaq has been attempting to make its business more agile by drastically cutting down its suppliers, which some analysts say has led to a lack of focus.

"They've lost a certain amount of confidence in the supply chain, and other players have moved in to pick up the pieces Compaq has dropped," said IDC senior research analyst Andy Brown.

This fumbling, along with increased competition from Dell in the corporate arena, helped Dell take over from Compaq as the UK's largest PC maker last summer. Compaq has also been hit in the small and medium business sector by Hewlett-Packard, UK No. 4 with a 7.2 percent share.

HP and No. 3 Tiny Computer have both managed to tap into the booming consumer PC market, which helped Tiny grow 16.7 percent to reach a 9.2 percent share in the first quarter. But the biggest growth out of any of the top 10 was from Time Computer, which enlarged its market share by 70 percent, helped by a large number of new stores across the UK and increased advertising spending.

Gateway, the US' largest consumer PC brand, continued in the doldrums of the No. 10 spot, with slight market share improvement. "They're up against strong local competition... but their focus is right," Brown said.

Despite the UK's relatively low overall market growth of 13 percent year-on-year, Brown said the market here showed far better improvement than the rest of Europe. The PC market in Germany grew 10.6 percent and in France it grew just 3.1 percent.

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