PC shipments worldwide are on track for healthy growth this year, with a bit of slowing next year, a market research firm said this week.
Emerging markets as well as strong notebook sales are driving overall growth in shipments, which are expected to increase by 12.3% this year over last year, Gartner said in a report issued Thursday. Next year, shipments are expected to rise by 11%.
However, uncertainty created by recent volatility in the global financial markets could have some "downside risk" to the forecast, Gartner said, though the analyst firm believes economic conditions will more likely have little effect on PC shipments in the coming months.
Notebooks remain the PC market's principal growth driver, due to falling average selling prices, enhanced performance and the continuing spread of wireless access, Gartner said. Those three conditions have improved the value of mobile PCs over desktops.
Emerging markets are also a major contributor to overall growth, accounting for 70% of the growth from the first half of 2006 through the first of half of this year, Gartner said. This year and next, emerging markets are expected to average 18.6% unit growth, while mature markets should average just 7%.
Current conditions in the global economy have aroused concerns among economists of a potential slowdown. In addition, there's a threat of a recession in the United States from the ongoing home mortgage crisis. While these events bear watching in the months ahead, the possibility of such a scenario appears remote, and the global economy appears to have sufficient buoyancy to ride out the financial turmoil, Gartner said.
"Based on this, the ongoing global economic turbulence will most likely have little effect on PC shipments in the months to come," Gartner analyst George Shiffler said in a statement. "However, since the situation remains fluid and circumstances could change, we recommend that PC vendors examine their supply chain flexibility and take whatever steps are necessary to maximize their flexibility in the face of greater economic uncertainty."