PC Shipments Showing Signs of Recovery

What do you know, there really is light at the end of every tunnel. After painting a gloomy picture for the PC industry, research group Gartner revised its forecast and reported that the personal computer market is expected to grow in the fourth quarter

According to the latest forecast by Gartner, Inc, worldwide PC shipments are on pace to reach 274 million units in 2009, a 6 percent decline from 2008 shipments of 292 million. Gartner now expects the PC market to post positive growth in the fourth quarter of 2009, setting the stage for a healthy market recovery in 2010 with units forecast to grow 10.3 percent.

Gartner’s latest forecast is somewhat brighter than its preliminary forecast from mid-May, which anticipated a 6.6 percent unit decline in 2009, and considerably stronger than its last detailed forecast from March, which projected a 9.2 percent unit decline. However, analysts urged caution and said that while the market appears to be strengthening, it is still premature to say that the worst is over and the market is recovering.

Mobile-PC units are forecast to total 149 million units in 2009, a 4.1 percent increase over 2008, but spending on mobile PCs is expected to decline 12.8 percent as mobile-PC average selling prices (ASP) continue to drop at an unprecedented rate. The drop in mobile-PC ASP reflects a pronounced market shift to lower-priced mobile PCs, driven in part by mini-notebooks but also by performance-for-price improvements in low-end mainstream mobile PCs. Desk-based PC units are now expected to total 125 million, a 15.7 percent decline compared with 2008; spending is expected to decline 26.6 percent.

“PC unit growth was stronger than we expected in all markets but Eastern Europe in the first quarter of 2009. In particular, consumer shipments were much stronger than we anticipated,” said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner. “However, professional shipments continued to struggle, and we think much of the growth in consumer units was due to vendors and the channel restocking inventories rather than an upsurge in demand. We expect units to contract roughly 10 percent year over year in both second and third quarter 2009 before they post positive growth in the fourth quarter.”

Mini-notebooks continued to cushion the market’s decline in the first quarter of 2009. Units remain on track to reach 21 million this year and 30 million next year. “However, mini-notebook units posted their first quarter-over-quarter decline in the first quarter of 2009,” said Mr. Shiffler.

“Both mobile-PC and desk-based PC units are being held back by users extending PC lifetimes and delaying replacements in response to the ongoing economic slowdown,” Mr. Shiffler said. “The good news for the industry is that delayed replacements won’t be lost replacements. Our research indicates replacements should grow strongly in 2010 and 2011, helping to power the market’s recovery.”

Gartner also said the impact of Windows 7’s release in October on the PC market is likely to be very modest.

Stay focused at improving your products and services and this forecast will become a reality.

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