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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP)—Driven by consumer demand and enticing
bargains, the personal computer market is expected to reach
“record” shipment levels in 2003 and 2004, according to a report
Thursday by a market research firm.

IDC raised its forecast, projecting that worldwide PC shipments
will grow by 11.4 percent to a total of 152.6 million units in 2003
and 169.9 million in 2004. The previous shipment record was 140.2
million units in 2000 before the worldwide economic downturn hit
hard.

Demand in the PC market had been improving slightly and steadily
since 2002 and surged during the third quarter this year when
shipments worldwide jumped by almost 16 percent from the year-ago
period, according to IDC.

“We have been waiting for a recovery in the PC market for a
while, and with the recent third-quarter results and general
strength of the market, the recovery is happening a little earlier
than we expected,” said Loren Loverde, director of PC research at
IDC.

IDC analysts expect PC demand to remain strong through next year
as consumers continue to take advantage of lower prices and
improved features of computers, especially in the notebook market.

Corporate spending on computers is also expected to improve
modestly next year as companies look to replace systems they bought
before the turn of the millennium, Loverde said.

But whether the projected growth in the PC market would reflect
a broader technology industry recovery is unclear, he said.

Another market research firm, Gartner Inc., earlier projected a
worldwide shipment total of 164.3 million in 2003, up 10.9 percent
from the previous year, but cautioned that the PC market growth
rate, currently driven largely by consumers, may not hold up if the
global economy doesn’t improve and corporate demand remains
lackluster.