Tablet stampede heralds notebook market collapse

Gartner dramatically revises world PC sales forecast
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Market research outfit Gartner dramatically slashed the firm's worldwide forecast for PC sales in 2011 and 2011 on the back of an anticipated explosion in tablet computing.

The company forecast shipments of 387.8 million units this year, representing a 10.5 per cent reduction over 2010. The firm previously projected a 15.9 per cent growth, adding that analysts see tablets "redefining PC's place in the consumer computing universe."

"We expect growing consumer enthusiasm for mobile PC alternatives, such as the iPad and other media tablets, to dramatically slow home mobile PC sales, especially in mature markets," said Gartner research boss George Shiffler.

Shiffler said that the analysts had previously believed that notebook sales growth would continue a pace off the back of punters buying second and third notebooks.

Garnter now believes that consumers will take a pass on buying additional notebooks, extending the lifetime of the devices while they apparently rush towards tablets and "mobile PC alternatives", presumably smartphones.

"Overall, we now expect home mobile PCs to average less than 10 percent annual growth in mature markets from 2011 through 2015."

Garnter's move follows a similar shift in position of analysts JP Morgan which yesterday raised the firm's tablet forecast to $26.1 billion in 2011 and $35.2 billion in 2012. 

JP now belives tablets will sell 47.9 million units in 2011 and 79.6 million next year. Earlier this year the major far eastern ODMs such as Compal presented far less bullish predictions for tablet sales.

The discrepancy means one of three things: Either Gartner is wrong, the ODMs will sell far more Android tablets than they currently believe or the iPad will single handedly send the notebook market into decline. 

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