Consumer PCs Beyond Apple: HP and Gateway are Hot, Dell is Not

Includes: DELL, GTW, HPQ
by: ChangeWave Research

By Paul Carton

While Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has shown the most momentum in recent ChangeWave Alliance consumer surveys, it’s not the only big story in computers this year. Here are three other big industry winners and losers for 2007.

Dell Falls

Our early January 2007 survey of 2,341 consumers shows Dell’s (DELL) PC market share continuing to fall.

Among consumers who purchased a computer in the previous 90 days, Dell hit a record low among buyers of both laptops (28%; down 5-pts) and desktops (31%; down 10-pts).

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These latest trends are part of a year long decline in Dell’s consumer market.

Looking ahead, Dell’s share of planned laptop purchases over the next 90 days (34%) has fallen another 2-pts to the lowest level we’ve seen in an Alliance consumer spending survey. On a brighter note, Dell planned desktop sales have increased to 44% – up 4-pts.

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Hewlett-Packard Rises

While Dell continues to suffer, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) sales continued to improve over the previous 90 days (Laptops – 22%, up 2-pts; Desktops – 27%, up 1-pt). For the first time in a ChangeWave survey, HP looks poised to challenge Dell for the top spot among PC manufacturers.

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Going forward, HP planned purchases for the next 90 days also appear strong, with laptops (24%) up 1-pt and desktops (25%) up 3-pts.

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Bullish on HP

The green arrows on the HP chart below represent each time one of our surveys of Alliance early adopters has registered bullish results on the company over the past 20 months – along with the total change in HP’s stock price over that time period.

Hewlett-Packard 2-yr Chart

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As you can see, the Alliance's previous findings have been very accurate regarding HP’s momentum, as reflected in the company’s stock price.

Most importantly, our latest survey results indicate continued momentum for HP going forward. There are good times ahead for the company.

A Surprise – Guess Who's Hot

In perhaps the biggest surprise of our January survey, sales of Gateway (GTW) laptops have surged from a lowly 3% in September to more than double that figure (7%) over the holidays – even as sales of its desktops (6%) remained unchanged.

It has been years since we’ve picked up a momentum signal like this from Gateway.

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And in another surprisingly upbeat sign for Gateway, planned laptop sales over the next 90 days (5%) are up 1-pt, and planned desktop sales are nearly double (11%; up 5-pts) since our previous survey.

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So what gives? Why is Gateway showing this sudden burst of momentum?

In a follow-up survey of Gateway consumer purchasers in mid-January, we asked the following question:

How satisfied are you with your Gateway computer?

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With an 88% overall satisfaction rating, it’s not hard to see why Gateway is gaining market share.

In the words of Alliance member GED6416, “It was the most cost-effective way I could get the capabilities I needed, and my Gateway has been drop-dead reliable, which is very unusual for a PC.” Alliance member DMP73803 adds, “I've been very satisfied with its performance for a small business application. I will purchase another one when the opportunity arises.”

Bottom Line: Along with Hewlett-Packard, keep your eye on Gateway. Clearly the Street hasn’t picked up on this story yet.

Note: Jim Woods co-wrote this article.

This article summarizes the results of a recent ChangeWave Alliance survey. The Alliance is a research network of 10,000 business, technology and medical professionals who spend their everyday lives working on the front line of technological change. For more info on the ChangeWave Alliance, or if you are interested in joining, please click here.