While the total U.S. market for personal computers has been growing dramatically, the small business segment has been growing even faster. The latest research from International Data Corp. forecasts annual PC shipments to small business will top 8.8 million in 1998, up 20 percent from 1997. More than 24 percent of all PCs will go to small businesses in 1998, a percentage that will continue to grow this year.
Raymond Boggs, who directs IDC's Small Business Market research, notes that PC manufacturers are targeting small businesses as never before.
"Dell, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and now Compaq are all refining product and promotional efforts to appeal to small businesses, with the Internet and direct contact playing an increasingly important role," says Boggs.
According to IDC, the PC makers with the most loyal customers are Gateway and Hewlett-Packard.
Percent of buyers planning to add same brand currently owned include:
- Gateway: 63.8 percent
- Hewlett-Packard: 53.3 percent
- Dell: 46.7 percent
- Compaq: 37.9 percent
- IBM: 36.2 percent
- Apple: 34.3 percent
- Packard Bell/NEC: 10.7 percent