PC industry performs better than expected

According to the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company, Gartner Inc, worldwide PC shipments have declined slightly in 2009 but the category has drastically exceeded earlier predictions.

According to Gartner, worldwide PC shipments are on track to reach 285 million units for 2009, which is a two per cent decline from 2008, where the industry shipped 291 million units.

This forecast is well above Gartner’s initial prediction back in June, where it expected a six per cent decline for 2009.

“PC demand appears be running much stronger than we expected back in June, especially in the U.S. and China,” said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner.

“Mobile PC shipments have regained substantial momentum, especially in emerging markets, and the decline in desk-based PC shipments is slowing down. We think shipments are likely to be growing again in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared to the fourth quarter of 2008.”

In order for the category to achieve growth for the year it would have to see a four per cent growth in the last half of 2009. Shiffler discussed how this is slightly out of reach, despite the fact that Windows 7 will be released later in the year.

“We don’t expect the release of Windows 7 to significantly influence PC demand at year-end,” Shiffler said.

“At best, Windows 7 may generate a modest bump in home demand and possibly some added demand among small businesses. However, we aren’t expecting most larger businesses, governments and educational institutions to express strong demand for the new operating system until late 2010. We’re actually more concerned that vendors will overestimate the initial demand for Windows 7 and end up carrying excess inventories into 2010.”

Other news coming out of the report highlighted that netbooks continued to grow in the second quarter of 2009, however lower-priced mainstream notebooks proved strong competition. Worldwide mini-notebook shipments are expected to reach 25 million units in 2009, which is up from the initial forecast in May of 21 million units.

“At least unit-wise, 2010 should be a considerably better year for the PC market,” Shiffler said.

“We now expect units to grow 12.6 percent next year as mobile PC growth continues to gain momentum and desk-based PC growth turns positive, thanks to revived replacement activity. However, we don’t see the on-going declines in PC average selling prices slowing down significantly next year, so spending is likely to be more or less flat in 2010.”

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