Market analyst, Gartner Dataquest, is forecasting a modest growth in worldwide PC sales in 2003.
According to its latest research, PC unit shipments will grow by 2.3 pc in 2002 and 7.6pc in 2003, slightly more optimistic results than in the company’s preliminary forecast.
The percentage growth represents 128 million shipments for 2002 and 137.7 million for 2003.
The predictions are broadly in line with forecasts by the international data corporation (IDC) reported earlier this month, which predicted a 1pc growth for this year and more than 8pc next year, due to strong public sector spending and continued improvement in the consumer sector.
According to Gartner, the global PC market is continuing to struggle with considerable uncertainty and lengthening PC life cycles. It also says that a strong replacement cycle for the large volume of PCs bought from 1998 to 2001 remains likely, but it will almost certainly not begin in the first half of 2003.
Instead, Gartner is predicting it will begin in the second half of next year, extending into 2004. In the short term, Gartner said market inhibitors appear to strongly outweigh market drivers.
As a result, market growth will continue to struggle until this replacement cycle begins. One of Gartner’s major concerns is that 2003 corporate IT budgets are being drafted at the moment, when continuing economic uncertainty offers limited incentives to replace PC’s. As a result enterprises could adopt especially cautious PC budgets for 2003, according to Gartner.
The analyst is recommending that PC sellers remain cautious over the near term. They are also advising vendors to keep careful watch on their forecasts and closely monitor inventories.
In the longer term, vendors should prepare for the reality of single-digit global market growth, according to the analyst.
By Suzanne Byrne