PDA sales fall sharply

1 May 2003

The personal digital assistant (PDA) market in western Europe showed a marked decline during the first quarter of 2003, with shipments down 7pc compared to the same quarter in 2002, according to preliminary results from Gartner.

Market leader Palm sold 205,011 units during the quarter, a 7.3pc drop on the year-ago quarter. Palm’s market share stayed at 35pc. Second placed Hewlett-Packard (HP) sold 157,200 units, a 7.7pc fall, and saw its market share decline slightly to 26.9pc from 27.1pc. Bucking the trend was third largest player Sony whose shipments rose 107pc from 18,000 to nearly 38,000. Sony’s share of the market climbed to 6.5pc from just 2.9pc last year. In so doing it overtook Casio, which saw sales of its PDA plummet from 47,250 units to just 33,100, a 30pc drop.

The total PDA market comprised 584,493 units during the quarter, down from 628,988 units last year.

The European PDA market, however, is faring slightly better than the overall global one. Latest figures from Gartner show that worldwide shipments totalled 2.8 million units in the first quarter of 2003, an 11.1pc decline on the same period last year.

Palm held on to the top spot in the worldwide rankings with 32.8pc of PDA shipments. Although Palm shipped more that twice the units of its nearest competitor, its market share continued to decline. HP remained in the No. 2 spot with 16pc of the market, followed by Sony, with market share of 13.3pc. Toshiba and Sony showed the strongest growth among the top-tier vendors with growth rates of 276pc and 60pc, respectively.

Roughly half of Palm’s shipments in the first quarter of 2003 were of its US$99 Zire model. HP was forced to take a more aggressive pricing posture because of Dell’s entry into the market, but otherwise Dell has not yet seriously eroded HP iPaq sales, according to Gartner.

By Brian Skelly