PC shipments should be higher than expected, says IDC

Growth may not be as strong as in 2004, but Europen and Asian demand is positive.

PC vendors aren’t enjoying as much growth as last year but PC shipments in 2005 should still finish well above previous expectations for the year, says market researcher IDC.

Strong consumer demand in Europe and Asia should allow PC vendors to ship around 110 million units in the last six months of the year, IDC says. Should that come to pass, PC vendors would have shipped 204.6 million units for the full year — a 14.1% improvement over 2004 shipment totals.

In 2004, PC vendors improved their worldwide shipment totals by 15.3% over the previous year. Earlier this year, IDC forecast that full-year growth in 2005 would ease back to 11.4% as both business and home buyers reached the end of a three-year spending spree on PCs. The growth in worldwide shipments to corporations is still expected to fall, from 16.3% in 2004 to a forecast 11.4% for 2005.

However, while the US market has continued to mature, IDC underestimated the appetite of PC purchasers in Western Europe and Asia when making its forecast earlier this year. Worldwide growth in consumer PC purchases is expected to be 18.3% — up from 13.5% last year — even though growth in consumer shipments to the US should fall — from 8.9% last year to 7.3% this year.

Notebook PCs continue to drive much of the worldwide demand for new systems, even in markets such as the US and Japan where notebook adoption is already very high, says IDC.

Corporate IT departments have led the trend toward notebooks over the past few years but home users are now snapping up portable PCs at a faster rate, according to IDC’s data.

One sour note for vendors, if not purchasers, is that the growth in shipment value is not rising nearly as quickly as the shipments themselves, says IDC. Pricing is extremely competitive at the lower end of the PC market, especially in the second half of the year when many students around the world head back to school and gift-givers start making out their holiday shopping lists.

IDC is still predicting that growth around the world in 2006 will slip just below 10%.

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