Feeds

Laptops and developing countries drive strong PC growth (maybe)

Gartner reads the entrails

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

With a fair wind and a favourable tide, PC shipments should rise 11 per cent to 293 million units this year (2007: 264 million units), so says Gartner. The analyst shop thinks the PC market is "fundamentally in good shape", citing strong laptop sales, more demand in poorer countries, and some significant desktop replacements in the offing. But - and it is a big 'But' - sales could fall into single digits - "if global economic headwinds strengthen".

According to George Shiffler, research director, the Pooh Traps the industry could fall into are a "deepening US recession, the rising possibility of a sharp slowdown in China's economy following the Beijing Olympics, and the elevated price of oil".

Sounds all too plausible, so who can blame Gartner for hedging its bets?

Let's turn to Shiffler, in Cassandra-lite mode:

Slowing GDP (gross domestic product) growth can and does affect PC shipments through its impact on consumer incomes and business profits. Although the impact has probably softened over time as PC prices have fallen and PCs have become more indispensable to work and play, PCs are still far from being completely recession-proof. A deeper and more extended global slowdown emanating from the U.S. and China would slow PC unit growth even more by sapping mobile PC demand, slowing emerging-market growth, and delaying replacement activity.

Shiffler puts on his Pollyanna dress for this:

Rapid economic growth [in emerging markets] is not only stimulating PC demand among business, governments and educational institutions, but also generating new demand among the ever-growing numbers of increasingly affluent consumers.

And this:

Desk-based PCs experienced their last major replacement cycle from 2004 to 2005. Gartner's replacement model indicates that desk-based PCs are on track to experience another, albeit substantially more modest replacement cycle, from late 2008 to early 2010. In addition, mobile PCs remain on track to experience a steady increase in replacement activity through late 2009. Replacements account for 60 per cent of PC shipments worldwide and nearly 80 per cent of US PC shipments, so growing replacement activity will provide a helpful boost to PC growth.

So there you have it: PC shipments will grow 11 per cent in 2008. Or they won't. Average selling prices will fall, because they always do. But by how much? Gartner has a number in mind perhaps, but that's for clients. The rest of us must wait for the '08 quarterly sales numbers. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nice computers don’t need to go to the toilet, says Barclays
Bad computers might ask if you are Sarah Connor
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis
And goes to the Genius Bar for support
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Microsoft stands on shore as tablet-laden boat sails away
Brit buyers still not falling for Windows' charms
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.