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
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
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,”