September 1, 2010

PC Growth Forecast Cut For The 2nd Quarter

Growth forecasts for personal computer sales for the second half of the year have been cut by Gartner on Tuesday, noting that the economic outlook for the US and Western Europe remains uncertain.

The technology research and advisory firm said worldwide PC sales are expected to grow 15.3 percent during the second half of the year, about two percent below the previous forecast.

Although lowering their forecast numbers, Gartner said worldwide PC sales should top 367.8 million units, up just over 19 percent from the 308.3 million units sold in 2009.

Gartner research director Ranjit Atwal said Gartner was lowering the second-half growth forecast "in light of the uncertain economic outlook for the United States and Western Europe."

"There is no doubt that consumer, if not business PC demand has slowed relative to expectations in mature markets," Atwal told AFP.

He said that "the slow pace of economic recovery and austerity measures in Europe have made PC suppliers very cautious in 2010."

However, "consumer demand is likely to remain strong even if the economic recovery stalls because consumers now view the PC as a relative 'necessity' rather than a 'luxury," he added.

The impact of the low-cost mini-notebook computer on the PC market has peaked and is now starting to wane, Gartner said.

Research analyst Raphael Vasquez said the mini-notebook share in the mobile PC market declined for the second straight quarter, falling under 18 percent after reaching nearly 20 percent in late 2009.

Market shares for the mini-notebook are expected to continue the downslide until it reaches about 10 percent by 2014, said Gartner.

Vasquez said that mini-notebooks will surely carve themselves a market niche as companion devices, however, "the emergence of media tablets is a growing threat to that niche."

Research director George Shiffler said Apple's iPad tablet computer has not affected the mini-notebook market too badly so far, mostly because it is "generally priced higher than most mini-notebooks."

The mini-notebook market could get a big hit next year, though, as lower priced iPad imitations continue to be released, he said.


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