Mobility, replacements to drive PC market in 2003

Mobility is likely to be the major demand driver for the PC market in Australia this year, a report has found.

Gartner's report, Australia: PC Market Outlook, 2003, found that following a 9.5 per cent growth in 2002, the forecast for PC shipments will remain fairly positive - probably in the mid to high single-digit growth.

Laptops are expected to experience strong double digit growth, according to the report which cited six key demand drivers for the PC market in 2003. These include the professional market which covers "Y2K replacements" for the many organisations in Australia that were caught up in the Y2K phenomenon and went on a buying frenzy in the lead up to the new millennium.

"Many of these systems are four years old and are nearing the end of their productive life. Many organisations have already factored replacement costs as part of the overall hardware budget. Gartner Dataquest believes this will be the key driver for 2003," the report showed.

Pricing remains a key consideration in many organisations, as vendors continue to drive prices down.

"In 2002 Dell was the price leader, and many vendors and channels were forced to match or better their pricing to remain competitive. With Dell's superior supply chain mechanism, prices will continue to decline. The result is a buyer's market," the report showed.

The strong growth of mobile PCs, increasing acceptance of wireless technologies, such as 802.11b, and the decreasing setup cost of wireless LAN have led to an increased interest and uptake in wireless and mobile PCs from large and mid-size enterprises.

"With the high growth expected in the mobile PC market, vendors and resellers really need to get the right offers to market as soon as possible," said Andy Woo, industry analyst with Gartner.

Woo said vendors are unlikely to be able to offer all the products that customers want, "so it is important that they work closely with the channels and partners to get the bundling right, especially in the private market".

"Assuming end users have exhausted all possibilities to maximise the total cost of ownership potential, they must strive to get as much as they can from their suppliers. PC vendors and resellers alike will be more willing to comply with customer requests in a market like this," Woo said.

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