Gartner Forecasts PC Shipments To Grow 20 Percent In 2010

Forecasting strong demand for mobile PC shipments, Gartner is revising its forecast for 2010 PC shipments upward, saying global PC shipments are expected to rise almost 20 percent, with 366.1 million shipments, compared to 305.8 shipments in 2009.

Gartner's projection is markedly higher its December 2009 forecast, which anticipated 13.3 percent growth in PC shipments in 2010. PC spending is expected to reach $245 billion worldwide in 2010, up 12.2 percent from 2009.

George Shiffler, research director at Gartner, said growth is now expected to continue through 2010 and beyond as home PC demand grows and replacements for business PCs rise with the recovery from the recession.

"The PC industry will be overwhelmingly driven by mobile PCs, thanks to strong home growth in both emerging and mature markets," Shiffler 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. Desk-based PC shipment growth will be minimal and limited to emerging markets.

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"We expect mobile PCs to drive 90 percent of PC growth over the next three years," Shiffler added. "In 2009, mobile PCs accounted for 55 percent of all PC shipments; by 2012, we expect mobile PCs to account for nearly 70 percent of shipments."

The forthcoming introduction of Apple's iPad and the emergence of other tablet PCs and netbooks has changed the nature of the PC market, Gartner said.

"User requirements are clearly segmenting, and the mini-notebook proved this point," said Ranjit Atwal, principal analyst at Gartner, in a statement. "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. 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.

"Opportunities and risks for the PC market certainly seem tilted toward the upside now, following many quarters in the balance," said Atwal. "New challenges are arising that will extend the PC ecosystem, increasing choice and competition. Ultimately, it will be the consumer who decides just how far that ecosystem extends and at what rate the PC industry grows."