Worldwide PC Market Expected To Grow

IDC forecasts worldwide PC shipments will grow by 10.1 percent to 195.1 million in 2005. That compares with growth expected to come in at 14.5 percent this year with a shipment forecast of 177.2 million units. The growth rate was 11.9 percent in 2003 and 1.9 percent in 2002.

The Framingham, Mass.-based research firm said its 2005 forecast is buoyed by strong third quarter results and continued PC demand in the commercial sector.

That sector is expected to post 11.3 percent growth in PC shipments next year compared with consumer growth rates of 8 percent worldwide and just 5.1 percent in the United States. In the third quarter, growth in worldwide consumer PC shipments slipped to less than 8 percent, down from a peak of more than 25 percent in the year-ago quarter.

"We've expected the market to slow from peak recovery in 2004 since mid-2001," said Loren Loverde, director of PC research at IDC. "However, despite the relatively weak consumer market, commercial and portable demand continue to drive growth."

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IDC's forecast came out a day after IBM announced it is selling a majority stake in its desktop and laptop computer business to Beijing-based Lenovo Group Ltd., China's biggest computer maker.

"The continuing market growth provides an excellent environment for Lenovo's acquisition of IBM's PC division," added Alan Promisel, an IDC mobile computing analyst. "Lenovo gains the global reach and scale to compete internationally while strengthening its position in relatively high growth commercial and portable markets."

Another market research firm, Gartner, last month forecast that the PC industry will experience further consolidation driven by slower growth rates that will lead to three of the top 10 PC makers exiting the market by 2007.

Gartner forecasts PC unit growth to average 5.7 percent annually from 2006 through 2008, compared with average growth of 11.3 percent from 2003 through 2005.

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