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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

School Computer Program Boosts Sales

MTComputer retailing in Russia retained its strength last year, while the global personal computer market suffered a slowdown.
While around the world computer retail sales slumped last year, Russia's buoyant market defied the global slowdown.

The international computer market recorded a year-on-year decline of 4.6 percent in computer sales in 2001, but local hardware sales boomed, reaching figures not seen since the pre-crisis heyday of 1997.

In the record-breaking fourth quarter of 2001, some 607,000 computers were shipped to Russia, up 20.5 percent from the last record over the same period in 1997, according to IT research company IDC Russia.

IDC attributes this fourth-quarter personal computer sales peak in part to the President Vladimir Putin-sponsored project of providing computers to schools around the country.

Most of the program's 60,000 computers were shipped in the final quarter of last year.

The total volume of the local computer market last year was over 2.4 million units, or $1.225 billion, Vedomosti reported Monday.

Desktop computers accounted for 93.9 percent of sales, laptops accounted for 4.3 percent, and 1.8 percent was attributed to sales of servers on the Intel platform, the newspaper said, citing a report by the ITResearch company.

Compared to 2000, the volume of personal computer sales grew by 37.7 percent.

The servers market showed growth of 44.5 percent, while 47 percent more laptops were sold than in the previous year.

Formoza led the market in PC sales last year, and together with another four companies -- Akvarius, Kraftvei, Eksimer-DM and R-Style Computers -- accounted for 20.7 percent of sales.

Compaq led the servers segment. The top five server manufacturers Compaq, Akvarius, Inforser, Kraftvei and Hewlett-Packard accounted for 54.1 percent of sales.

Bely Veter showed the best results in the laptop category. Other leaders in this market included Fujitsu-Siemens, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Toshiba. Together they accounted for 71.5 percent of laptop sales in 2001.

As for this year, however, sales seem to have slowed. The government has not been buying any significant number of computers for its various programs, and the market is feeling the pinch.

The first quarter of this year showed a decline in PC shipments, partly due to the absence of large state-funded projects, said IDC Russia regional manager Robert Farish.

However, Farish added, such a decline is a common trend for the Russian PC market.

"There is always some decline in the first quarter of each year, compared to the fourth quarter," he said.

Farish suggested the second quarter might show a "mixed" result, "given uncertainty over whether planned state projects will receive promised funds."

According to U.S. government research, the Russian PC market has good potential, especially for those companies that offer cheap but quality products. There is plenty of room for growth, as there are only about 7 million computers in Russia, compared to about 140 million in the United States.