Over the next 18 months, PC growth will be supported by healthy professional replacements, a report finds.
PC unit growth is projected to be slightly weaker in 2011 than Gartner's
previous projection, according to the IT research firm's latest forecast. PC
shipments are expected to grow 9.3 percent in 2011, reaching 385 million units,
slightly lower than Gartner's previous projection of 10.5 percent growth for
report noted that throughout much of the last decade, PC unit growth was
powered by consumers. However, with consumers from mature markets maintaining a
tight rein on their spending in response to continuing economic uncertainty,
along with a lack of compelling reasons for consumers in general to replace
their PCs, PC unit growth has slowed and must once again rely on businesses to
mobile PCs are no longer driving growth, because of sharply declining consumer
interest in mini-notebooks. Mini-notebook shipments have noticeably contracted
over the last several quarters, and this has substantially reduced overall
mobile PC unit growth," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.
"Media tablets, such as the iPad, have also impacted mobile growth, but
more because they have caused consumers to delay new mobile PC purchases rather
than directly replacing aging mobile PCs with media tablets. We believe direct substitution
of media tablets for mobile PCs will be minimal."
are transitioning from a one-size-fits-all computing platform to a
more-specialized device, prized for its ability to complement other devices.
"The PC market is experiencing dramatic structural changes," said
Atwal. "Moving forward, PCs will no longer be a market by themselves, but
part of a larger device market that ranges from smart televisions to the
most-basic-feature phones. Within this market, consumers and professionals will
increasingly use the combination of devices that best suits their particular
the next 18 months, PC growth will be supported by healthy professional
replacements, the report said. "Businesses sharply reduced replacements
and extended PC lifetimes in response to the recession," said Raphael
Vasquez, research analyst at Gartner. "Businesses have begun replacing
aging PCs more vigorously. We expect the growing urgency for businesses to
migrate away from Windows XP will drive significant professional replacements."
also reduced expected 2011 Japanese PC unit growth to 2.4 percent in response
to the March earthquake and tsunami. "Desk-based PC shipment growth has
been significantly affected, and business continuity plans are accelerating the
shift to mobile PCs and alternate computing models," said George Shiffler,
research director at Gartner. "However, the impact of Japan's twin
disasters on worldwide PC shipment growth has been minor, and PC vendors have
so far managed the threat of Japanese component disruptions."
to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, worldwide PC shipments are now
expected to grow by just 4.2 percent in 2011, down from a February forecast of
7.1 percent. A combination of declining first-quarter shipments, an
increasingly conservative economic outlook, relative saturation among developed
market consumers and competing products will lead to slow growth in 2011 before
a rebound in 2012, the company's report noted. For 2012 through 2015, growth is
still expected to fall in the 10 percent to 11 percent range.