Gartner sees end to PC market drought

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Gartner sees end to PC market drought

Demand has picked up in the worldwide PC market over the past three months, leading market watcher Gartner to brighten its forecast for 2009 as a whole.

In June, the research firm predicted global PC shipments in 2009 would decline six percent on last year's 291 million. Now Gartner is forecasting that shipments will reach 285 million this year, a slip of just two per cent.

Gartner research director George Shiffler claimed demand has increased noticeably in the US and China. He added that overall global shipments are projected to return to year-on-year growth in 2009's closing quarter.

"Mobile PC shipments have regained substantial momentum, especially in emerging markets, and the decline in desk-based PC shipments is slowing down," he said.

The netbook market continued to grow healthily in Q2 2009. However, Gartner said its hitherto meteoric rise has been checked by a drop in price for mainstream notebooks. Falling netbook and notebook prices are also exerting "tremendous downward pressure" on desktop prices, claimed the analyst.

Netbook shipments are expected to reach 25 million this year, a 16 percent increase on what Gartner predicted in May. The figure is projected to rise to 37 million next year, although netbooks' share of the entire PC market is " expected to level out a bit sooner than before".

Overall, Gartner anticipates 2010 will be a much brighter year for the PC industry. Shiffler predicted units shipped would be up 12.6 percent on this year, with growth partly fuelled by demand for mobile PCs. He added that the desktop market would also return to growth as normal replacement cycles will kick in again as the economy rebounds.

"However, we do not see the ongoing decline in PC average selling prices slowing down significantly next year," he added. "So spending is likely to be more or less flat in 2010."

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