Handheld Shipments Decline 21%
The worldwide market for handheld devices declined in the first quarter of 2003 due to sluggish demand from businesses and consumers. According to the latest IDC's Worldwide Handheld report, shipments fell by 21% year-on-year in 1Q03 to 2.45 million units. Palm maintained its top position in the market while HP took over the number 2 position from Sony.
"The post-holiday slump in enterprise and consumer spending on handheld devices mirrored the difficult worldwide economic climate," said Ross Sealfon, research analyst in IDC's Smart Handheld Devices program. Aside from a surge in consumer purchases around the holidays, clear consumption patterns for handheld devices have yet to emerge among enterprises and consumers. As most enterprise customers do not regard handheld devices as a key component of their IT infrastructure, demand softens quickly as corporate IT budgets are cut. In the consumer market, handhelds are viewed primarily as luxury items. As a result, declines in consumer confidence and disposable income negatively impact consumer demand.
Palm maintained its leadership status, shipping nearly double the units of its closest competitor. This was mainly due strong sales of the Zire. HP regained the number 2 spot due in large part to sales of its $299 H1910. Sony is still in the three, right behind HP. HandSpring moved down to the number 7 spot overall with 2.9% market share. The study did not include Smartphone and the results reflect HandSrpings remaining organizer sales, and does not include the Treo devices.
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