Market research firm IDC has raised its PC forecast for the remainder of 2003, citing increased sales of notebooks and some signs of life within corporate purchasing departments.
The forecast had been for 6.3 percent growth in shipments for 2003, but IDC bumped that up two points to a forecast of 8.4 percent growth worldwide as compared to 2002, said Roger Kay, vice president of client computing for IDC in Framingham, Massachusetts. IDC changes its forecast on a quarterly basis as PC companies report results, he said.
The renewed strength of the U.S. and the recovery of Asia from the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) scare earlier this year have lifted expectations for the overall PC market, Kay said. The SARS virus had a limited impact on PC purchases in Asia, which still remains the region with the strongest growth, he said.
As reported earlier this week, shipments of notebooks are surging, as both consumers and businesses look to replace their old PCs with notebooks that offer performance as well as mobility, Kay said.
“Notebooks have always had advantages, but had two real disadvantages in performance and cost. But the performance gap between notebooks and desktops isn’t as important as it used to be, since both have sufficient performance for most people. And the cost of notebooks has gone down dramatically,” Kay said.
The price of notebooks with Intel Corp.’s Centrino package of the Pentium M processor and a wireless chip will fall to mainstream levels — little over US$1,000 — by the end of the year, Kay said. And Microsoft Corp. has indicated that a number of aggressively priced notebooks with the Windows XP Media Center operating system will be rolled out later this year, he said.
Although they no longer get the glory, desktop PC exceeded IDC’s shipment expectations in the second quarter, Kay said. However, the forecasts for desktop growth over the next few years remain fairly modest, he said.
IDC had lowered its forecast for PC growth twice this year, on fears of a dropoff in public sector spending and prolonged weakness from the SARS outbreak soured expectations in March and June.
Gartner Inc. also raised its worldwide PC shipment forecast in August to 8.9 percent growth for 2003, up from expectations of 7.2 percent.