Handheld Shipments Fell 18% in 2003
The latest industry figures from IDC say the worldwide market for handheld devices grew slightly in the fourth quarter of 2003, largely due to strong holiday sales by palmOne and Hewlett-Packard. According to IDC’s Worldwide Handheld QView, device shipments continued to show tepid growth with a rise of 3.2% year-on-year in 4Q03 and a sequential increase of 52.7% to 3.4 million units.
Among the top vendors, Hewlett-Packard experienced 101.5% year-over-year growth on the strength of a particularly large and diverse portfolio. The top 4 vendors maintained their market positions during the fourth quarter, but Toshiba was knocked out by Medion's ascension into the number 5 spot.
For the full year, the total handheld market decreased to 10.4 million units; a drop of 17.9% from the previous year's shipments of 12.6 million units. IDC believes that this full-year decline matches the changing role of the handheld device in a mobile-telephony energized world.
"With a growing number of vendors and products that combine both personal information management (PIM) capability and telephony, consumers are moving away from devices that offer only PIM capability. HP and palmOne enjoyed particular success during the holiday buying season by offering handheld devices with features beyond PIM that cannot be found in a mobile phone," said David Linsalata, analyst in IDC's Mobile Devices program. "Going forward, handheld device vendors must continue to differentiate and expand into hot product categories, such as media players and digital cameras, to renew growth in their market."
- palmOne – On the strength of the newly released Zire 21, Tungsten E, and Tungsten T3 handhelds, palmOne posted sequential growth of 56.7% and a corresponding increase in market share from 37.5% to 38.5%. However, given palmOne's history of producing simple yet powerful devices, a holiday increase in shipments is to be expected.
- Hewlett Packard – Although HP's market share declined from 25.9% in the previous quarter to 25.1% in 4Q03 due to a significantly larger market, HP continued its momentum from the previous quarter and grew its shipments by 101.5% year-over-year. By building upon a range of products introduced during the summer that covers all price points, HP found itself well-positioned to continue its growth through the end of the calendar year.
- Sony – Strong holiday sales in the U.S. helped Sony to sequential growth of 99.8% for the quarter. But Sony was caught between product cycles and experienced weak growth in other regions, bringing its year-over-year shipments down by 2.8%.
- Dell – The fourth quarter saw the introduction of Dell's new Axim X3 line of devices, pushing Dell up 21% sequentially and 167.4% year-over-year. With both products being pushed in tandem throughout the world, Dell looks to get back on the growth track it experienced with the introduction of its Axim X5 devices last year.
Top 5 Vendors, Worldwide Handheld Device Shipments and Market Share, 2003 (Preliminary)
|Rank||Vendor||2003 Shipments||2003 Market Share|
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