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PC makers on recovery path

Refresh phase - IDC

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The PC market is expected to recover somewhat this year and return to double figure growth in 2003, according to International Data Corporation (IDC), Andrew McLindon writes.

The market research firm is expected on Thursday to increase its estimate for worldwide PC unit shipments in 2002 to a 4.7 percent gain. Previously, IDC had predicted increases of 1.8 percent and 3 percent for the year. The updated IDC projection would mean global shipments of 140 million PCs during 2002.

Another market research company, Gartner, also recently increased its 2002 PC shipment forecast by one percent to 5.4 percent.

Although these are estimates, they will be welcome news for the beleaguered PC industry, which saw PC sales fall in 2001. The 4 percent drop last year was only the second time in the sector's history that sales fell year-on-year as companies and consumers held back on PC purchases.

IDC said it was making its revised forecast due to slightly better-than-expected growth in the first quarter and signs of consumer purchasing increasing. Furthermore, it said it expected that the weakness in corporate PC purchases would recede in the second half of the year.

"A lot of the systems now installed are getting old. This will be the start of a more substantial refresh phase," IDC PC analyst, Loren Loverde, told The Wall Street Journal.

Gartner also said it believed that there would be a recovery towards the end of the year with shipments flat in the first half of 2002, but growing to a 9 percent increase in the fourth quarter. The research firm said the recovery would be due to increased confidence in the world's main economies.

Looking forward, IDC forecast double growth in PC shipments in the US and globally. IT said that growth would be 11.1 percent worldwide in 2003 and be up 10.3 percent in the US. Growth will be highest in Asia and European growth will be fall short of that in the US.

On Wednesday, IDC also upwardly revised its projection of sales by smaller PC markers during 2001. It said that new research methods had indicated that worldwide PC shipments were around 133 million as compared to approximately 125 million before the adjustment. This meant that IDC also changed its estimate of the drop in PC sales during 2001 from the previous 5 percent to 4 percent.

The new figures showed that smaller PC makers shipped 58.4 percent of all PCs during last year, which was up from 55.8 percent under the old projection. However, the updated outlook had little impact on the market share of the leading PC suppliers such as Dell, Compaq and Hewlett-Packard.

© ENN.

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