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Gartner reports PDA shipments slightly down in Q3

Facing increasing pressure from the mobile phone market, worldwide PDA shipments declined 0.2 percent in the third quarter of 2003, according to preliminary statistics from Gartner, Inc.

This was the eighth consecutive quarter the handheld computer market experienced a year-over-year decline in shipments. Over the last year, the PDA market decline has been primarily due to falling shipments of PDAs that are based on non-mainstream operating systems.

“The PDA industry is struggling with the continuing economic doldrums and by the fact that approximately 70 percent of all PDAs are purchased by consumers with their own funds,” said Todd Kort, principal analyst for Gartner’s Computing Platforms Worldwide group. “PDA market erosion is also resulting from increasing competition from mobile phones that include similar calendar, address book and other personal information management capabilities that have been fundamental applications of PDAs.”

The worldwide PDA market would have suffered a much steeper decline if not for the strong growth by Hewlett-Packard. If HP’s results were removed, the PDA market would have declined 13 percent year over year. HP’s worldwide PDA market share reached 23.1 percent in the third quarter of 2003 (see Table 1), an all-time high for the company.

“HP refreshed its product line with five new models following the launch of Windows Mobile 2003 in late June, and it was first to market with OS upgrades for most of its installed base,” Kort said. “The new HP models received favorable reviews and reached much lower price points than HP had offered before. This helped HP capture the market lead in the Western Europe and Asia/Pacific regions.”

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