Global PC Shipments Will Jump 19 Percent in 2010, Lag in Second Half of Year, Researcher Says

Gartner lowers to 15.3 percent PC unit shipment growth forecast for Q3/Q4 2010, blames uncertain economy in mature markets.

September 1, 2010

D.H. Kass

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Global PC shipments in 2010 will jump some 19 percent to 367.8 million units, although dip noticeably in the second half of the year owing to ebbing demand in the U.S. and Western Europe, according to a preliminary forecast from researcher Gartner Inc.

In late July, Gartner said that it figured PC vendors shipped 82.9 million desktop and mobile units worldwide in the second quarter of 2010, a 20.7 percent increase over the similar period last year and the third quarter in a row of double-digit growth year-over-year.

Now the researcher has pared its forecast for second half PC shipment growth by 2 percent down to 15.3 percent, expecting sluggish demand both from business customers and consumers through the end of the year.

"The PC market revived in the first half of 2010, but the real test of its resilience is yet to come," said Ranjit Atwal, Gartner research director.

"We have reduced our forecast for second-half 2010 PC growth to 15.3 percent, approximately 2 percent below our previous forecast, in light of the uncertain economic outlook for the United States and Western Europe,” he said.

Still, Gartner said that it expects the aging PC installed base to prod businesses to purchase PC replacements and drive worldwide demand upward, although a more dramatic spike may not occur until next year.

“Businesses that delay replacing much longer risk alienating employees, burdening themselves with more service requests and support costs, and ultimately facing higher migration costs when they eventually migrate to Windows 7,” Atwal said.

“The bottom line is that businesses need to refresh their PCs sooner rather than later,” he said. “Thus, the full bloom of the long-awaited professional PC refresh can't be more than a few quarters ahead."

Expected second half global PC shipment slowdown

Atwal said that nervous PC suppliers fear that mature markets could experience a sharp slowdown in Q3 and Q4, prompting shifts in production.

“Recent dramatic shifts in the PC supply chain were in no small part a reaction to fears of a sharp slowdown in mature-market demand,” he said.

Gartner also pointed to a decline in mini-notebook shipments for the expected second half slide in worldwide PC shipments.

The researcher said that mini-notebooks' share of mobile PC shipments dropped to 18 percent in Q2 2010, falling for the second consecutive quarter, and will continue to slide through 2014 until settling in at about 10 percent.

"The recent decline in mini-notebooks' share of the mobile PC market reflects a general realization among buyers that mini-notebooks are less-than-perfect substitutes for standard low-end laptops," said Raphael Vasquez, Gartner research analyst.

Gartner said that it includes tablet PCs in its PC market statistics and forecasts, but excludes media tablets from both.

George Shiffler, Gartner research director, said that media tablets, such as Apple Computer Inc.'s iPad, will affect the PC market.

"The iPad hasn't had much of an impact on mini-notebook units so far, if only because it is generally priced higher than most mini-notebooks," Shiffler said.

"However, we anticipate lower-priced iPad imitations will begin to take larger bites out of mini-notebook units as they are released next year," he said.

TAGS: PC,Notebook,Gartner,forecast,shipment

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