Gartner lowers PC shipment forecasts

Media tablets begin to impact purchases of traditional PCs

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Gartner lowers PC shipment forecasts Gartner has revised its predictions for PC shipments in 2011 to 387.8 million units, a 10.5% increase from 2010, but down from Gartner's previous projection of 15.9% growth this year.
By  Georgina Enzer Published  March 6, 2011

Gartner has lowered its PC unit shipment forecast for 2011 following expectations of a weaker demand for PCs.

The company has downshifted its shipment estimate to 387.8 million units in 2011, a 10.5% increase from 2010, but down from Gartner's previous projection of 15.9% growth this year.

Gartner expects global shipments to reach 440.6 million units in 2012, a 13.5% increase from 2011, but down from the previous outlook of 14.8% growth for 2012.

"These results reflect marked reductions in expected near-term unit growth based on expectations of weaker consumer mobile PC demand, in no small part because of the near-term weakness expected in China's mobile PC market, but also because of a general loss in consumer enthusiasm for mobile PCs," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.

Gartner has revealed that the reduction in estimates is due to the decrease in demand for PCs as the spread of low-cost Wi-Fi modules has spread, users can now access the internet through a range of mobile devices without the need of a mobile PC. It is also due to the limitations of the traditional PC, according to Gartner analysts.

Gartner analysts have said that consumer mobile PCs was the growth engine of the PC market during the past five years, averaging annual rates of growth approaching 40%.

"We expect growing consumer enthusiasm for mobile PC alternatives, such as the iPad and other media tablets, to dramatically slow home mobile PC sales, especially in mature markets," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner. "We once thought that mobile PC growth would continue to be sustained by consumers buying second and third mobile PCs as personal devices. However, we now believe that consumers are not only likely to forgo additional mobile PC buys but are also likely to extend the lifetimes of the mobile PCs they retain as they adopt media tablets and other mobile PC alternatives as their primary mobile device. Overall, we now expect home mobile PCs to average less than 10% annual growth in mature markets from 2011 through 2015."

The professional PC market is expected to show double-digit growth in both 2011 and 2012 as enterprises globally replace their aging PCs.

"However, even in the professional market, media tablets are being considered as PC substitutes, likely at least delaying some PC replacements," said Raphael Vasquez, senior research analyst at Gartner.

The rapid growth in media tablets is dampening enthusiasm for PCs and is one of the key reasons that PC sales will remain weak in the global market, according to Gartner.

Consumers are already substituting PCs with tablet devices and enterprises are waiting to see developments in the tablet market before making technology purchases, Gartner analysts have revealed.

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