THE GROWTH OF TABLETS has led analyst firm Gartner to slash its forecast for PC sales growth this year to just 3.8 per cent growth or a total of 352 million units.
This comes after the research company forecast 9.8 per cent growth three months ago, and 15.9 per cent at the start of 2011. The latest estimate sees the analyst cut an expected 54 million of PC sales in nine months.
Gartner said PC shipments are forecast to see better growth by the end 2012, when sales are expected to reach 404 million units, a 10.9 percent increase from 2011. However, this is still down from a previously forecast 12.8 percent growth for 2012.
"Media tablets have dramatically changed the dynamic of the PC market and HP's decision to rethink its PC strategy simply highlights the pressure that PC vendors are under to adapt to the new dynamic or abandon the market," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner.
"Vendors' tried and true business models are failing as traditional PC functionality is extended to other devices, and users continue to lengthen PC lifetimes. Vendors only seem to be flailing as they look for quick fixes to their problems. Unfortunately, the resulting chaos is just creating more confusion across the entire PC supply chain, impacting sell-in."
"Western Europe is not only struggling through excess PC inventory, but economic upheaval as well," added Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. "U.S. consumer PC shipments were much weaker than expected in the second quarter, and indications are that back-to-school PC sales are disappointing. An increasing pessimistic economic outlook is causing both consumer and business sentiment to deteriorate in both regions. We're expecting consumer spending to tighten in response. Business spending will also tighten, but less than the consumer space."
Gartner analysts said that while PCs remain important to consumers and businesses, purchases easily can be delayed, especially when there are complementary devices that are seen to be more attractive.
"More worrisome for the long term is that Generation Y has an altogether different view of client devices than older generations and are not buying PCs as their first, or necessarily main, device," Atwal said. "For older buyers, today's PCs are not a particularly compelling product, so they continue to extend lifetimes, as PC shops and IT departments repair rather than replace these systems."
Gartner's PC forecast does not include tablets, which it forecasts separately. µ
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