Federal Buying Drives PC Growth

Fueled by aggressive spending and an ongoing PC replacement cycle, the federal government enjoyed the strongest third quarter growth performance in the entire PC market. According to IDCs U.S. PC Public Sector Tracker, the number of PCs shipped to the federal government more than doubled from the third quarter of last year.

The biggest driving force in the public sector, though, was the education market, particularly the K-12 market, which accounted for nearly half of all PCs shipped to the public sector. Shipments to the K-12 market enjoyed double digit growth from last year.

By contrast, the weakest segment was state and local governments as shipments shrank substantially, reflecting budget shortfalls amid a tough economic environment.

With 2.78 million PCs shipped in the third quarter, the overall public sector grew at a rate of 20.9 percent year over year.

The top-five vendors in the public sector market were Dell , Hewlett-Packard , Apple , Gateway , and IBM . Together, the vendors accounted for the bulk of PC shipments to public entities in the third quarter.

“Vendors like Toshiba and Sony are also making important gains, particularly in the portable PC space, while white box system builders, like Premio PC, continue to dominate an important segment of the public sector buying population at the local and regional levels,” said David Daoud, a senior analyst at the Framingham, Mass.-based IDC.

IDC said the the public sector market expanded in unit terms due to three important factors:the education sector remained recession-proof and was sheltered from the budget cuts many state and local governments were forced to implement across various programs; the increase in federal spending, which benefited many large departments, including the Department of Defense, the Treasury Department; and aggressive PC pricing.

IDC’s U.S. PC Public Sector Tracker gathers PC market data in the U.S. by vendor, form factor, brand, processor brand and speed, and user segment. The research is part of the wider Worldwide and U.S. PC Tracker, which includes historical and forecast trend analysis as well as price band and installed base data.

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