US Report: Compaq clear No.1 in Q2

Compaq nearly lost its lead as the global leader in PC shipments in the second quarter of 1998, according to both International Data Corp. and Dataquest.

Compaq nearly lost its lead as the global leader in PC shipments in the second quarter of 1998, according to both International Data Corp. and Dataquest.

Meanwhile, IBM fell from its traditional position as one of the largest five PC vendors in terms of combined commercial and consumer PC shipments within the United States. The company also dropped a notch from second to third place in PC shipments worldwide. Between April and June, Compaq shipped 1.16 million PCs in the U.S. compared to Dell's 1.14 million, according to IDC's numbers. Dataquest pegged the two equally close with Compaq's shipment estimated at 1.11 million in the second quarter, compared to Dell's 1.09 million.

Direct PC vendors - like Dell and Gateway - posted stronger growth than their retail competitors, both studies found. While Dell's U.S. sales grew a whopping 72 percent over Q2 a year ago and Gateway's a respectable 33 percent, according to IDC, Compaq and Packard Bell NEC Inc. became mired in inventory, with their shipments only growing by 11 percent and shrinking by 11 percent, respectively. Indirect PC maker Hewlett-Packard sales maintained a healthy 33 percent growth, propped up by the companies strong commercial showing. "There is demand, but the issue is to really clear the channel," said Arrington. IDC attributed Compaq's slow growth to its efforts clearing old models out of the retail chain. Dataquest had similar figures.

While Compaq and Dell lead the market with a little over 14 percent each, HP, Gateway, and Packard Bell were almost tied for third in both the IDC and the Dataquest survey. Yet, each company is going a different way.

Hewlett-Packard, while strong in commercial markets, suffered from product delays in both the consumer and laptop markets, according to IDC. The market research firm also spotlighted Packard Bell NEC's troubles in consumer loyalty and pricing, as well as its failed attempts at the commercial market, for it slide of 11 percent from the second quarter a year ago.

The unfettered contender seems to be direct PC maker Gateway, whose 33 percent growth defied its seasonally slowest quarter. The strong showing rode on the back of robust government and educational sales.

Worldwide, Compaq continued to hold a healthy lead, shipping 2.6 million units in Q2, compared to 1.7 million units for No. 2 Dell, according to Dataquest figures. "All companies were hurt to some extent by poor performance in Asia/Pacific and Japan," said Scott Miller, analyst for Dataquest.

Hewlett-Packard maintained its fourth place ranking, while fifth-ranked Packard Bell NEC fell behind even more.

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