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(Japanese Site)

  • FY97 PC Ships Fall Y-O-Y for First Time in Five Years
  • May 19, 1998 (TOKYO) -- The Japan Electronic Industry Development Association (JEIDA) said PC shipments in Japan saw their first annual fall in five years in fiscal 1997 (ended March 1998).
    Shipment volume was 6.851 million in units, down 5 percent from a year earlier, Value was 1,654.3 billion yen (US$12.3 billion), down 6 percent.

    It is the first time since 1992 that volume and value of shipments were lower than the previous year. JEIDA said this is because of sluggish consumer spending and companies checking investment.

    The survey was conducted among 23 Japanese PC producers. JEIDA estimates that these companies cover approximately 95 percent of total PC shipments in Japan.

    According to JEIDA, total shipments (within Japan and exports) of PCs in fiscal 1997 were 8.174 million in units, down 6 percent from the preceding year, and 1,927.4 billion yen (US$14.3 billion) in value, down 8 percent.

    When the number of domestic shipments in each quarter is compared on a year-on-year basis, the record in the first quarter of the fiscal 1997 was 4 percent higher. In the second quarter it was 6 percent lower. And in the third quarter it was 7 percent lower.

    The figure in the forth quarter plunged to 9 percent lower than a year ago. This is because the fourth quarter of the previous year experienced a surge in shipments in the rush before the consumption tax hike.

    In terms of the number of shipments per quarter, it topped 1.709 million in the first quarter, 1.651 million in the second quarter and more than 1.597 million in the third quarter. The fourth quarter recovered slightly to 1.894 million.

    Shipments of desktop machines in Japan were 3.834 million in volume, 17 percent lower than fiscal 1996. Shipments of notebook models in fiscal 1997 were 3.017 million, 18 percent higher than fiscal 96.

    The desktop to notebook ratio was 65 to 35 in fiscal 1996, but notebooks increased 9 points in fiscal 1997 and the ratio was 56 to 44.

    JEIDA attributed a number of reasons to increase in shipments of notebook PCs. First, the space-saving size and low level of energy consumption of notebooks are highly sought features. Second, performance improved and the screen size become larger, also increasing popularity.

    Companies that introduced a large number of PCs preferred notebooks. (The survey did not include machines with Windows CE.)

    With regard to the forecast of PC domestic shipments in fiscal 1998, JEIDA estimates the volume will be 7.2 million, up 5 percent from fiscal 1997, and the value will be 1,690 billion yen (US$12.6 billion), up 2 percent from fiscal 1997. JEIDA forecasts the number of notebook shipments will be 14 percent higher than in fiscal 1997.

    JEIDA made a favorable forecast because the economy and consumer spending are expected to recover under economic stimulus measures, and companies should increase investment on IT-related projects to cope with the millennium problem and financial "big bang" in Japan.

    Tetsuya Mizoguchi, vice president of Toshiba Corp. and chairman of JEIDA's personal computer promotion committee, said, "There are no negative factors for fiscal 1998. If the economic situation, which was the largest factor to suppress purchases of PCs in fiscal 1997, is improved, the PC market in fiscal 1998 will expand."

    He added that Windows 98, which will go on sale in July, is a positive factor, but it will not have a significant impact.

    JEIDA forecasts that the average price of a PC will decline by 3 percent from 241,000 yen (US$1,800) in fiscal 1997 to 235,000 yen in fiscal 1998.

    "It is not a large price drop and will not largely contribute to the growth of PC sales," Mizoguchi said.

    "I am looking forward to the second half of the year where economic measures will produce results and eventually lead to double-digit growth," he said.

    (Hi-Tech News Center)

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    Updated: Mon May 18 21:36:46 1998