IDC: 2005 PC outlook still growing, but weaker

PC growth is expected to slow in 2005, as compared to previous expectations, and decline further in 2006.

PC shipment growth will slow a little bit more in 2005 than previously expected, as the consumer market catches its breath after the past few years, according to IDC.

The Framingham market research firm now expects worldwide PC shipments to grow 9.7 per cent in 2005, down from IDC's last prediction of 10.1 per cent growth published last November.

If that rate holds, PC vendors will ship 195.4 million units in 2005, valued at US$209 billion.

The weaker forecast for 2005 growth comes as consumers and businesses are coping with factors such as the lackluster performance of the U.S. stock market, high energy prices and rising interest rates, vice-president for client computing at IDC, Roger Kay, said.

Growth should decline further in 2006, to around 8.6 per cent worldwide, IDC said.

Shipment growth was expected to remain above 8 per cent for the rest of the decade, the company said.

Consumer growth has propelled the PC market around the world over the last few years, but consumer purchasing fell behind business activity in most regions during 2004, director of IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker,Loren Loverde, said. Businesses in the U.S. and Asia were now in the midst of a long-awaited replacement cycle, discarding PCs they bought around 1999 and 2000 for new systems, and shipments to business customers would grow faster than consumer shipments in 2005 on a worldwide basis, IDC said.

However, in Western Europe consumers were still the primary driver for 2005 PC shipment growth, especially when looking at the notebook market, IDC said.

The worldwide trends toward stronger business activity and notebook PC adoption would remain the storylines for the PC market in 2005 and beyond, IDC said.

Growth was slowing in mature economies like the US and Western Europe, but was set to expand as PCs became more prevalent in emerging economies in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the company said.

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Tom Krazit

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