Domestic PC shipments climbed 33% in 1996

Domestic shipments of personal computers came to 6.809 million in 1996, up 33 percent from the previous year, the Japan Electronic Industry Development Association reported Feb. 4.

But the shipments grew only 10 percent to 1.723 million units in the October-December quarter. This indicates a slowdown in the rapid growth that has continued since the latter half of 1993, the association said.

JEIDA officials attributed the showdown, especially in the segment of desktop PCs, to slower than expected introduction of PCs boasting new technologies, such as DVD-ROM drives and Intel Corp.’s MMX Technology Pentium microprocessors. They said they are expecting the market to expand in the January-March quarter of this year, helped by the penetration of Windows NT 4.0, Microsoft Corp.’s new network operating system for corporate use, and the expected sales rush before the consumption tax hike in April.

But the officials were less confident about how much boost those new technologies will give to the PC market for home use. They say that shipments in fiscal 1996 — which ends in March — might not be able to meet the association’s earlier prediction of 7.5 million units.