Despite growing concerns about the overall health of the U.S. economy and IT spending, PC shipments are expected to grow more than 12 percent this year, with laptops driving demand in both the consumer and commercial markets, according to new research for IDC.
In its March 12 report, IDC is predicting that vendors will ship about 302 million laptops and desktops worldwide in 2008, an increase of 12.8 percent from 2007 when OEMs shipped more than 267 million PCs.
The total value of the PC market will increase 7.4 percent this year for a total of $280 billion, according to the report.
The report also found the PC industry will see double-digit growth in shipments through 2009, even with the downturn in the U.S. economy, before hitting only single-digit growth in 2010.
While other reports found that IT spending on hardware could slow in the next several months, notebooks are driving the growth in the PC market as enterprises continue to refresh and replace old hardware. In addition, IDC found that a new class of low-cost laptops that are beginning to hit the market will drive more sales in the coming years, especially with consumers.
In a research note released March 13, Doug Freedman, an analyst with American Technology Research, found that the worldwide semiconductor market, which includes Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, the two biggest chip suppliers to the PC market, is within its normal bounds for this time of year.
The American Technology Research report also found that notebooks are the driving force within the industry at this time of year.
"We believe the PC food chain is acting normal for this time of the year with sell-through generally down," Freedman wrote. "Notebooks continue to grow as a percentage of total units and strong builds for low-end products likely benefits Intel this quarter in terms of unit share, based on our checks."
Within the worldwide PC market, notebook shipments are expected to increase more than 26 percent in 2008, according to IDC. This double-digit growth will likely continue through 2012, although IDC does see some slowdown at the end of the four-year period.
Outside the United States, desktop shipments will continue to grow in 2008 - about 6.3 percent - and that single-digit growth will continue through 2012. With the U.S. market, desktop growth is expected to drop 4.6 percent this year and IDC finds that downward trend continuing through 2012.
In terms of notebook shipments, the United States will see an increase of 21 percent this year compared to last year for a total of 36.3 million units.