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Gartner feels the PC sales vibe

Hikes 2003 forecast again

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Market researcher Gartner has upped its PC sales forecast, predicting a double-digit rise in shipments for 2003.

Gartner is now looking for 164.3 million units to be shipped in 2003, which would be a 10.9 percent year-on-year rise. This is the second recent shipment hike from Gartner. The company forecasted an 8.3 percent rise in August on 161.3 million units. That was an increase from an original prediction back in May that shipments would hit 138.7 million units.

"Third quarter results were stronger than had been expected, led largely by the home and small business markets," said Charles Smulders, vice president of Gartner's Computing Platforms Worldwide group. "We see the third quarter results as an encouraging sign, and consequently we have increased our forecast for the fourth quarter of 2003 as well as the year-end projections. But we remain cautious in our overall outlook."

Gartner expects 47.2 million units to be moved in the fourth quarter ? a 12.4 percent year-on-year increase.

The company, however, notes four areas of concern that could stall sales. Corporate sales remain weak in all regions except Europe, consumer sales could slow down after a strong third quarter, inventory levels in October appeared high and the hot Japanese consumer market may well cool down in the fourth quarter.

So why all the optimism then?

Gartner suggests that if signs of a global economic recovery end up playing out, then the PC market will be as strong as expected.

"Our forecast models continue to show strong potential for growth in the number of buyers upgrading over the next year, but levels of actual activity will be highly dependent on worldwide economic circumstances," said George Shiffler, principal analyst for Gartner's Computing Platforms Worldwide group. ®

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