The PC industry suffered a 2 per cent decline in shipments in the second quarter of this year compared to the same period last year, IDC reports.

This is the first year-over-year quarterly decline ever, the analyst claims. Worldwide shipments were 7.2 per cent lower than in the first quarter of the year.

A softening of demand in Europe coupled with a weak US economy and a commensurate slowing of demand in the Far East have conspired to make global sales fall to 29.8 million units in the quarter.

With the exception of Dell, most manufacturers suffered declining sales compared to the year ago quarter.

Euro slow down US PC shipments fell 8.1 per cent from a year earlier and 1.3 per cent from the first quarter, just below forecasts, IDC said. Japanese shipments were flat in the second quarter following a strong 2000 when they rose 30 per cent.

Consumer and government spending slowed down in China and India. Australian and European sales also slowed down .

Among vendors, worldwide sales declines from a year earlier ranged from 1.1 per cent for Fujitsu Siemens to 10.5 per cent for Compaq. Dell increased its market share in the quarter to 13.4 per cent from 11.4 per cent, strengthening its position at the top spot with more than 3.9 million units shipped. Compaq remained in second place with about 3.6 million units shipped, and IBM held on to third place with about 2.1 million shipments, a 5.6 per cent decline year-over-year.

HP, in fourth place, shipped just under 2.1 million PCs in the quarter, a drop of 8.6 per cent. Fujitsu-Siemens shipments totalled just under 1.4 million worldwide. All other vendors combined shipped about 16.6 million units, down 2.1 per cent from the year-earlier quarter.