Growth of PC shipments in 2011 is set to drop to just below 4 per cent, a large drop from previous predictions of almost 10 per cent growth, according to a leading research group.
Gartner has predicted that worldwide PC shipments are on pace to total 364 million units in 2011, a 3.8 per cent growth over 2010. Previous estimates had suggested that PC shipments would grow by 9.3 per cent in 2011 - to over 400 million units. The notably lower outlook for 2011 PC growth is largely due to sharply downgraded forecasts for Western Europe and the United States in the second half of the year.
While the outlook is a lot brighter for 2012 according to Gartner, it has also lowered expectations, down from 12.8 per cent to 10.9 per cent growth, thanks to the weaker performance in 2011 and a slower start to 2012.
The second half of 2012 is expected to have better growth as economies stabilise and new mobile PC form factors enter the market – such as the latest batch of Ultrabooks. The figures compiled by Gartner did not include tablets, which will be forecast separately.
The reason for the pessimistic outlook according to Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, is that younger people no longer see PCs as their first, or necessarily main device. "For older buyers, today's PCs are not a particularly compelling product, so they continue to extend lifetimes, as PC shops and IT departments repair rather than replace these systems," Atwal said.
Obviously tablets have had a major effect on the PC market and George Shiffler, research director at Gartner, referenced HP’s recent decision to rethink its PC strategy as a reflection of this situation.
“Vendors' tried and true business models are failing as traditional PC functionality is extended to other devices, and users continue to lengthen PC lifetimes. Vendors only seem to be flailing as they look for quick fixes to their problems. Unfortunately, the resulting chaos is just creating more confusion across the entire PC supply chain, impacting sell-in," Shiffler said.