Apple iPad, Netbooks to Drive PC Market Growth in 2010

The Apple iPad, a rejuvenated tablet market and low-cost netbooks will all help drive worldwide PC shipments to a 20 percent gain in 2010, Gartner is predicting. That push for mobile devices will continue to grow, according to Gartner. Within three years, mobile PCs are expected to drive 90 percent of PC growth.

Gartner expects worldwide shipments of PCs in 2010 to grow 20 percent over last year, driven by rising interest in mobile PCs, including Apple's iPad tablet, the IT research firm wrote in a March 4 report.
In 2009, netbooks - or mini-notebooks, as Gartner refers to them - helped to boost flagging desktop numbers through the global recession, and additional mobile form factors, such as tablet PCs, and most notably the Apple iPad, will contribute to pushing up sales numbers through 2010.
While mobile PCs accounted for 55 percent of PC shipments in 2009, Gartner expects them to account for 70 percent of shipments by 2012, and 90 percent of PC growth over the next three years.
"The PC industry will be overwhelmingly driven by mobile PCs, thanks to strong home growth in both emerging and mature markets," George Shiffler, research director at Gartner, said in a statement.
"Mini-notebooks are again forecast to boost mobile PC growth in 2010, but their contribution is expected to decline noticeably afterward, as they face growing competition from new ultra-low-voltage (ULV) ultraportables and next-generation tablets," Shiffler continued. "Desk-based PC shipment growth will be minimal and limited to emerging markets."
While 305.8 million units shipped worldwide in 2009, Gartner forecasts 2010 shipments to reach 366.1 million units, with spending reaching $245 billion - an increase of 12.1 percent over 2009 spending.
Further, the tablet PC space, rejuvenated by the Jan. 27 introduction of the Apple iPad, is being reconsidered by many, according to Gartner, and 2010 could see shipments of up to 10.5 million "tablets and next-generation tablet devices" worldwide.
"Vendors can no longer afford to just think in terms of traditional PC form factors or architectures. With the rise of Web-delivered applications, many users no longer need a traditional PC running a resident general-purpose operating system and fast x86 CPU to satisfy their computing needs," said Ranjit Atwal, principal analyst at Gartner. "Apple's iPad is just one of many new devices coming to market that will change the entire PC ecosystem and overlap it with the mobile phone industry. This will create significantly more opportunities for PC vendors as well as significantly more threats."
In a separate, March 4, release, Gartner additionally predicted that in 2010, sales of touch-screen mobile devices will grow a whopping 96.8 percent over 2009 totals.
"New challenges are arising that will extend the PC ecosystem, increasing choice and competition," Atwal said. "Ultimately, it will be the consumer who decides just how far that ecosystem extends and at what rate the PC industry grows."