The worst of the recession could be over for the PC industry, as worldwide shipments are expected to reach 285 million this year.
Research firm Gartner forecasts a two per cent decline from the 291 million units shipped in 2008, but this figure is more optimistic than the six per cent drop predicted in June.
"PC demand appears be running much stronger than we expected back in June, especially in the US and China," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner. "Mobile PC shipments have regained substantial momentum, especially in emerging markets, and the decline in desk-based PC shipments is slowing down. We think shipments are likely to be growing again in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared to the fourth quarter of 2008."
"At least unit-wise, 2010 should be a considerably better year for the PC market," he added. "We now expect units to grow 12.6 per cent next year as mobile PC growth continues to gain momentum and desk-based PC growth turns positive, thanks to revived replacement activity. However, we don’t see the on-going declines in PC average selling prices slowing down significantly next year, so spending is likely to be more or less flat in 2010."
According to Gartner, netbooks grew strongly in the second quarter of this year, despite increasing competition from lower-priced notebooks. Worldwide netbook shipments are now predicted to reach 25 million in 2009, up from Gartner’s May projection of 21 million. In 2010 the firm is forecasting netbook shipments of 37 million units in 2010.
The release of Windows 7 is not expected to significantly affect PC demand. Shiffler said that, at best, the operating system would generate a “modest bump” in home user and small business demand.
"We aren’t expecting most larger businesses, governments and educational institutions to express strong demand for the new operating system until late 2010. We’re actually more concerned that vendors will overestimate the initial demand for Windows 7 and end up carrying excess inventories into 2010," he added.