PC shipments down 6 percent

Worldwide PC shipments are on pace to reach 274 million units in 2009, a 6 percent decline from 2008 shipments of 292 million, according to the latest forecast by Gartner, Inc.

Gartner now expects the PC market to post positive growth in the fourth quarter of 2009, setting the stage for a healthy market recovery in 2010 with units forecast to grow 10.3 percent.

Gartner’s latest forecast is somewhat brighter than its preliminary forecast from mid-May, which anticipated a 6.6 percent unit decline in 2009, and considerably stronger than its last detailed forecast from March, which projected a 9.2 percent unit decline.

“PC unit growth was stronger than we expected in all markets but Eastern Europe in the first quarter of 2009. In particular, consumer shipments were much stronger than we anticipated,” said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner.

Mini-notebooks continued to cushion the market’s decline in the first quarter of 2009. Units remain on track to reach 21 million this year and 30 million next year. “However, mini-notebook units posted their first quarter-over-quarter decline in the first quarter of 2009,” said Shiffler.

Mobile-PC units are forecast to total 149 million units in 2009, a 4.1 percent increase over 2008, but spending on mobile PCs is expected to decline 12.8 percent as mobile-PC average selling prices (ASP) continue to drop at an unprecedented rate.

Gartner analysts also added the impact of Windows 7’s release in October on the PC market is likely to be very modest.

“Although the buzz surrounding Windows 7 has generally been quite positive, we don’t expect the market to significantly deviate from its normal seasonal trends in reaction to its release,” said Mr Shiffler.

“Unless Microsoft mounts a major marketing campaign in support of Windows 7, we think consumers will simply adopt the new operating system (OS) as they would normally buy new PCs and/or replace old ones.”

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PC shipments down 6 percent