Domestic shipments of personal computers hit record highs in value and volume in fiscal 2000, amid growing demand from individuals as the Internet continues to gain popularity, an industry group said Tuesday.

The Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association said PC shipments during the fiscal year, which ended March 31, grew 22 percent from the year before to 12.1 million units, the first time the figure has surpassed 10 million.

In value, shipments came to 2.144 trillion yen, up 9 percent.

Shipments of notebook PCs rose a particularly strong 31 percent to 6.23 million units, due partly to lower prices in line with the declining cost of liquid crystal displays, the association said.

Notebook shipments for the first time exceeded those of desktop PCs, which stood at 5.87 million units, up 14 percent.

For this fiscal year, the association projects shipments of 13.6 million units, up 12 percent.

“PC shipments are to continue growing on the back of the expanding e-commerce in the corporate sector, and moves among small and midsize companies to catch up with information technologies,” an official at the association said.

The statistics are based on data from 17 Japanese and foreign makers operating in the domestic market, including NEC Corp. and IBM Japan Ltd. The data cover about 90 percent of the market.

In the January-March quarter, the association said, shipments totaled 3.69 million units, up 17 percent from the same period the year before, valued at 625.9 billion yen, up 7 percent. Both figures are also record highs for a quarter.

The average price for notebook PCs fell 14 percent to 178,000 yen per unit, while that for desktop PCs was 160,000 yen, down 5 percent.

Spending drops 0.5%

Japanese families spent an average 317,267 yen per month in fiscal 2000, down an inflation-adjusted 0.5 percent from the previous year for the fifth straight annual dip, the government said Tuesday.

It is the first time since fiscal 1964 — the earliest year for which comparable data are available — that household spending has fallen for a fifth-consecutive year, the Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry said.

“The margin of decline is slightly narrower than the 1.2 percent in fiscal 1999, but spending has been weak with no improvement in the environment surrounding income conditions,” a ministry official said.

Spending on clothes and footwear fell 7 percent for the 10th straight annual fall, reflecting a surge in low-priced imports amid a consumer appetite for more affordable apparel.

Spending on education and entertainment slid 2.7 percent for the first fall in three years, with the drop in demand for sporting goods being especially sharp.

But spending on durable goods surged 11.5 percent as consumers rushed to buy refrigerators and other electric appliances ahead of the April 1 introduction of a recycling law that requires users to pay for their disposal.

The new legislation caused average household spending in March alone to rise an inflation-adjusted 1.5 percent from a year earlier to 338,485 yen — the second consecutive monthly increase. Spending on home durable goods soared 83.2 percent in the month.

Likewise, spending on telecommunications rose 13 percent amid strong demand for mobile phone services.

Households paid 27.4 percent more for automobiles as automakers rolled out a series of new models.

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