Feds, education send PC sales soaring

IDC

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The education market and the federal government helped propel PC sales in the third quarter, according to a report released Dec. 9 by IDC, a market intelligence and advisory firm.

PC shipments to the public sector in the United States reached a record high during the third quarter of 2002, according to IDC. With nearly 2.8 million PCs shipped, public-sector business grew at a rate of about 21 percent from the previous year's third quarter.

Education accounted for most of the growth, with the K-12 market representing half of the PCs shipped to the public sector.

Framingham, Mass.-based IDC said the federal government enjoyed the strongest growth performance in the entire PC market, thanks to aggressive federal spending and an ongoing PC replacement cycle. The number of PCs shipped to the federal government more than doubled from the previous year.

The weakest segment was state and local government. Shipments there shrank substantially, reflecting widespread budget shortfalls.

The top five vendors in the public-sector market were Dell Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Apple Computer Inc., Gateway Inc. and IBM Corp.

IDC indicated that several economic factors led to the industry's strong quarterly growth in the public sector. The first was that the education sector was sheltered from the budget cuts that many state and local governments were forced to implement across various programs. The second important factor was the increase in federal spending, which benefited many large departments, including the Treasury and Defense departments.

IDC's report was based on its U.S. PC Public Sector Tracker, which gathers PC market data by vendor, form factor, brand, processor brand and speed, and user segment.

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