April 3, 2002, 12:00 AM

Don’t count on a boom in demand for wireless shopping, says Gartner study

Sales of PDAs will grow 18% this year, the same as last year but only a fraction of 2000’s 114% growth, Gartner Dataquest says. Meanwhile, the devices’ capabilities are improving with better graphics and more storage capacity.


Online retailers who want to deliver content to shoppers via wireless devices got some good news and some bad news today in a survey of wireless devices from Gartner Inc.’s Dataquest Inc. unit.

The good news: The wireless market continues to shift toward devices with color displays, more powerful processors, and more storage capacity, meaning that retail product presentation will show up better on personal digital assistants’ screens than they did a year ago.

The bad news: The growth in sales of wireless devices has slowed, meaning that the lagging demand for wireless will probably continue to lag for some time. Gartner Dataquest projects 15.5 million PDAs will be shipped in 2002, an 18% increase from 2001 shipments of 13 million units. In 2001, the industry experienced a similar growth rate of 18.3% but that was far below the 2000 shipment growth of 114%.

Gartner Dataquest says it expects growth will pick up again in the second half of this year and be stronger in 2003. Gartner Dataquest forecasts end-user spending to increase more than 20 percent in 2002, to $4.6 billion, up from $3.8 billion in 2001. Three-fourths of all PDAs are purchased by individuals, the research says.

Corporate interest could pick up as the devices’ capabilities improve. "The increasing capabilities of these devices and the growing availability of wireless technologies are beginning to stimulate large corporate purchases as solid productivity gains are realized, based on applications such as wireless e-mail or accessing corporate databases from remote locations," said Todd Kort, principal analyst for Gartner Dataquest`s Computing Platforms Worldwide group.


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