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Worldwide PC growth stunted by slow corporate demand

Worldwide PC shipments rose 7.3% year-on-year to 64.7 million units during the fourth quarter of 2006, according to new data from IDC. However, the growth was lower than the 15% rise seen in the previous two years following lacklustre desktop demand among commercial customers in mature markets.

Worldwide PC shipments rose 7.3% year-on-year to 64.7 million units during the fourth quarter of 2006, according to new research from IDC. However, the growth was much lower than the 15% rise seen in the previous two years following lacklustre desktop demand among commercial customers in mature markets.

On an annual basis, PC shipments increased 9.5% to more than 227 million units last year, while the value of the market rose at a more modest 6.1% to US$232 billion. Desktops accounted for almost two thirds of the market, but only grew 2% compared with portable shipments which rocketed 26% year-on-year.

The discrepancy between desktop and mobile PC shipments is set to become even more pronounced in the next four years, with IDC predicting that notebooks will represent over 50% of the worldwide market.

The anticipated growth is expected to be heavily driven by emerging markets, including the Middle East and Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Collectively, that group of territories is poised to account for more than half of all global PC shipments in 2011.

“Slower growth in desktops and in relatively mature regions changes the market dynamics a bit,” claimed Loren Loverde, director of IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. “A strong portable offering is becoming more important, and while local players have a larger share of international markets, the shift to portables will favor the largest players.”

He added: “Portables are picking up some of the slack from desktops and will benefit from improved security, power management, and new designs supported by Vista. While more replacements and Vista adoption may provide a brief respite for desktops in 2008, essentially all desktop growth will occur in emerging regions.”

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