PC Shipments To Fall By 4.5% This Year

IDC predicts PC shipments will begin to recover next year and emerging markets will push a return to double-digit growth by 2011.
Worldwide PC shipments will fall by 4.5% this year before recovering next year and returning to double-digit growth by 2011, a market research firm said.

The slide in PC shipments started in the fourth quarter when they fell 1.9%, the first decline following five years of almost uninterrupted double-digit growth, IDC said. The current economic recession is expected to continue to take its toll this year, driving shipments down 4.5% from last year to 282 million units. The United States will see an 8.9% drop this year to 62.3 million units.

However, IDC predicts that the need for replacement PCs and rising demand in emerging markets such as Asia-Pacific, excluding Japan; Latin America; Central and Eastern Europe; Middle East and Africa; and Canada, would drive shipments up 6.7% next year worldwide. The United States will be slower to recover with shipments expected to drop 1.3% in 2010.

"Slackening demand in the consumer market is stifling the engine of growth for U.S. PC shipments," IDC researcher Richard Shim said in a statement released Thursday.

In 2011, global shipment growth would return to double digits at 13.1%, IDC said. Projections for growth in 2012 and 2013 are 11.6% and 10.4%.

The United States is expected to return to positive growth in 2011 with a spurt of 5.8%. Projected growth rates for 2012 and 2013 are 4.3% and 4%, respectively.

In the short term, the current financial crisis, which has led to tight credit and rising unemployment, is expected to drive PC sales down. As the recession eases, dropping PC prices and aging PCs in businesses and consumers' homes will lead to higher sales, IDC said.

However, the transition to growth will be uneven across the globe. "To be sure, the PC market is in for a bumpy ride," IDC analyst Loren Loverde said.

IDC forecasts include desktop and laptop PCs and x86 servers. Market researcher Gartner this week said worldwide server shipments alone fell 11.7% in the fourth quarter of 2008, with each of the five top vendors experiencing a decline in sales.

Gartner didn't release forecasts for this year, but said, "The continued weak economic environment will cause users to be extremely cautious with levels of expenditure which will make for a particularly challenging environment for vendors."

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