Gartner Boosts PC Forecast, But Still in Negative

By eChannelLine  |  Posted 2009-09-29 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Firm predicts a slight net increase in sales for second half of the year but does not expect Windows 7 release to have big impact on 2009 numbers.

Analyst firm Gartner has released an updated forecast for 2009. The good news is that the numbers are improved from its' June forecast. The bad news is that the numbers are still in the red, compared to 2008.

The September forecast projects worldwide PC shipments as being on pace to reach 285 million units in 2009, a 2 percent decline from 2008 shipments of 291 million.

"PC demand appears be running much stronger than we expected back in June, especially in the U.S. and China," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner, in a statement. "Mobile PC shipments have regained substantial momentum, especially in emerging markets, and the decline in desk-based PC shipments is slowing down. We think shipments are likely to be growing again in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared to the fourth quarter of 2008."

PC units contracted 4.4 percent in the first half of 2009 compared to the first half of 2008. That does mean that Gartner is projecting a net increase fir the second half of the year, although not enough to bring the year as a whole into positive territory, except as a very best-case scenario, since it would require PC shipments to post growth for the year, shipments would have to grow at least 4 percent in the second half of 2009 compared with the second half of 2008. Gartner analysts think that scenario seems just a bit beyond the market's capability at this point, even assuming Windows 7 enjoys an enthusiastic reception when it is released October 22.

"We don't expect the release of Windows 7 to significantly influence PC demand at year-end," Shiffler said. "At best, Windows 7 may generate a modest bump in home demand and possibly some added demand among small businesses. However, we aren't expecting most larger businesses, governments and educational institutions to express strong demand for the new operating system until late 2010. We're actually more concerned that vendors will overestimate the initial demand for Windows 7 and end up carrying excess inventories into 2010."

Mini-notebooks continued to grow strongly in the second quarter of 2009 but faced increasing competition from lower-priced mainstream notebooks. They also continued to put tremendous downward pressure on PC prices in general and consumer mobile PC prices in particular. Gartner has revised its mini-notebook forecast upward. Worldwide mini-notebook shipments are now forecast to reach 25 million units in 2009, up from Gartner's projection in May of 21 million shipments. Shipments are now forecast to reach 37 million units in 2010. Even so, mini-notebooks' share of the overall mobile PC market is now expected to level out a bit sooner than before.

"At least unit-wise, 2010 should be a considerably better year for the PC market," Shiffler noted. "We now expect units to grow 12.6 percent next year as mobile PC growth continues to gain momentum and desk-based PC growth turns positive, thanks to revived replacement activity. However, we dont see the on-going declines in PC average selling prices slowing down significantly next year, so spending is likely to be more or less flat in 2010."
   
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