The growth of PC shipments will ease to 13.4 percent in 1998 compared to 15.9 percent in 1997 because of the financial troubles in Asian and Japan and slower economic growth in North America, according to a new market report from In-Stat, in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The market researcher now expects 96.7 million PCs to be shipped worldwide in 1998. In recent years, about half of semiconductor shipments have gone to PC applications, but many chip makers are now attempting to reduce their exposure to the slowing growth of PC motherboards. Slowing PC unit growth, however, is not good news to most U.S. and Asian chip makers -- such as Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, and Far East DRAM suppliers -- which still count heavily on the application to fuel revenues.
In-Stat, like other market researchers, sees 1998 PC unit demand being the strongest in North America and Europe, where system shipments will grow 15.5 percent and 15.0 percent, respectively.
"Throughout 1997, North America led all regions, growing 20.1 percent over 1996," said Norm Bogen, senior analyst for In-Stat's PC Market Service. "However, the ongoing economic difficulties in Japan and Asia Pacific, along with slower economic growth in North America, will result in slower PC unit shipment growth in 1998."
In Japan, PC unit shipments will grow by 6.1 percent, with the rest-of-the-world segment (including the Asian Pacific region) growing at 10.6 percent, according to In-Stat's new study. Bogen said the top four PC manufacturers -- Compaq, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Dell -- will continue to gain market share at the expense of the second-tier suppliers in 1998.