Worldwide PC shipments will grow by 12.6pc in 2004, the equivalent to 185 million units, according to a preliminary third quarter forecast by market analyst Gartner. This is slightly below Gartner’s earlier estimate of 13.4pc.
George Shiffler, principal analyst for Gartner’s client platforms research, said that the growth was being driven by in increase in replacement programmes. “PC users are sitting on an ageing installed base that remains ripe for replacement. So long as economic conditions remain supportive, we believe users will respond but the recent run-up in oil prices and talk of a US economic ‘soft patch’ increase the possibility that this replacement cycle could be undercut by external events.”
Fellow analyst Kiyomi Yamada agreed that the US economy was the key unknown. “Recent US economic data does increase the uncertainty over the PC market’s performance in the second half,” he said. “Any economic downturn would be felt in both the business and home PC markets. However, we believe that the most likely outcome is for the market to register double-digit growth in 2004.”
By Brian Skelly