Worldwide PC shipments to grow 14% in 2010
These projections are down from Gartner’s previous PC shipment forecast in September 2010 of 17.9 percent growth. 2011 worldwide PC shipments are forecast to reach 409 million units, a 15.9 percent increase from 2010. This is down from Gartner’s earlier estimate of 18.1 percent growth for 2011.
While Gartner does not regard the current dynamics in the PC market quite yet as an inflexion point, analysts do see many disruptive forces coming together that will weaken the market moving forward.
In the near term, many consumers and businesses will continue to refrain from buying PCs, as they collectively rebuild their finances in the face of slower income growth, weaker employment gains and a cloudy economic outlook, said Gartner.
Over the longer-term, users are likely to slow PC replacements and extend PC lifetimes as they turn to other devices as their primary computing platform.
While Gartner expect a continued upside in our emerging market forecast, leading to emerging markets gaining more than 50 percent of the total worldwide PC market by the end of 2011, mature markets will face mounting challenges.
Furthermore, in emerging markets, there is good chance that consumers will simply leap frog PCs and move directly to alternative devices in the coming years rather than following the traditional pattern of purchasing a PC as their first computing device.
Home mobile PCs have suffered the steepest downgrade with shipments in mature markets expected to be significantly weaker. Consumers in the US and Western Europe continue to postpone purchases in the face of financial and economic uncertainty.
However, Gartner said that the bigger issue for PCs in the home market is consumers temporarily, if not permanently, forgoing PC purchases in favor of media tablets.
Media tablet capabilities are expected to become more PC-like in the coming years, luring consumers away from PCs and displacing a significant volume of PC shipments, especially mini-notebooks. Media tablets are rapidly finding favor with PC buyers who are attracted to their more-dedicated entertainment-driven features and their instant-on capability.
The ascent of emerging devices will have an important indirect impact on PCs - the extension of average PC lifecycles. The effect of this ascent will be to spread traditional PC functionality over a variety of complementary devices. As this happens, analysts foresee users extending the lifetimes of PCs because there will be less need to replace them as often, said Gartner.
Hosted virtual desktops are not expected to earnestly impact mature professional markets until 2012, at the earliest.
Longer term, users that adopt HVDs to access their compute capabilities will do so predominantly by using refurbished PCs and thin clients. These alternative devices will displace new PC units, thereby reducing expected future desk-based shipment growth, added Gartner.
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