Growth is largely down to emerging markets while a "replacement market" will persist in mature markets such as Europe.

Gartner forecast PC growth of 4.4 per cent

Market research analysts Gartner have forecast a 4.4 per cent growth for PC sales for 2012 with growth accelerating towards the end of the year.

"PC shipments will remain weak in 2012, as the PC market plays catch up in bringing a new level of innovation that consumers want to see in devices they purchase," said Gartner research chief Ranjit Atwal.

Atwal gave voice to much of the PC industry’s concern, adding that the real question is "whether Windows 8 and ultrabooks will create the compelling offering that gets the earlier adopter of devices excited about PCs again."

Gartner believes that Intel’s ultrabooks will gain a higher profile in the second half of the year, presumably after the release of the improved Ivy Bridge models. Atwal did, however, point out that PCs would face more competition from devices Garner called "media tablets" apparently even lumping in Microsoft’s Windows 8-powered devices as "media tablets."

The move towards cloud-based services would also "add to the hurdles for PC vendors to overcome to revive the PCs and differentiate them from tablets," Atwal said.

While any figure representing growth for PC sales sounds like good news, Gartner also pointed out that ’emerging markets’ were the actual drivers for PC growth in the short and long term. The company reckons that these markets will increase from about half of PC volume last year up to 70 per cent by 2016.

Mature markets such as the US and Europe will continue to be a "replacement market" with much lower volumes, Gartner said.

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