Laptop computer sales absolutely sizzled last year, IDC said computer shipments increased 15.2 percent from the previous year. Dell was the top computer seller in 2003, with 16.9 percent of the worldwide market, followed by HP, IBM, Fujitsu and Toshiba. Gateway lost market share and was the only company to actually drop in sales of computers compared to 2002.
Overall notebook computer shipments posted double-digit gains for the first time since 2000. The buying surge was led by aggressive pricing that persuaded buyers to open their wallets. While Dell, HP and IBM all shipped more computers last year than they did in 2002, Gateway sold roughly 725,000 fewer machines, a drop of over 25 percent from percent from the amount Gateway shipped in 2002.
Gateway, which has lost money for three years, hopes to make up for lost sales in computers by selling more consumer electronics devices such as TVs, digital cameras and other gadgets, which bring in higher profits than computers. However, Gateway still relies on computers for the bulk of its revenue.
While Dell held the overall lead in computer sales last year, HP took over the top spot in the United States during the fourth quarter, thanks to a strong holiday season.