Consumer PC sales continue to soar but corporates are putting hardware purchases on hold until the Y2K hurdle has been overcome.
According to the latest data from Context, sales of desktop PCs through corporate resellers fell 13 per cent in the third quarter of this year, against figures from the same period in 1998. Sales of portables to this sector also fell, by eight per cent.
Jeremy Davies, senior partner at Context, said: "We are probably now beginning to see the effect of the Y2K problem on PC purchases by corporate buyers. They've either completed their buying plans for this year, or are deferring until next year."
By contrast, retail and dealer sales to small business and home users - who are expected to be far less affected by Y2K problems - rose rapidly.
Outlets such as Dixons and PC World fared particularly well, with a rise in unit sales of 35 per cent, while small dealers targeting this sector recorded overall growth of 46 per cent.
Despite its falling profit and placing a greater emphasis on direct sales, Compaq topped the indirect sales charts for the quarter, recording figures three times greater than IBM in second place.
The number three slot went to Toshiba, with Hewlett Packard, Fujitsu and Apple bringing up the rear.
Around five million PCs were sold in the UK in 1998. Direct sales through Dell and smaller assemblers accounted for a third of this figure.
Total sales through the indirect channel - dealers, retailers and corporateresellers - was around 800,000 units for the quarter.
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