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Laptop-crazy consumers will keep PC market afloat

Big big servers dominate HPC sector

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IDC has dialled up its 2008 PC market forecast as raging sales of cheap laptops allow the industry to “resist economic pressures” – for now, anyway.

At the other end of the market, mid- and high-end servers kept the HPC server market chugging along in the second quarter despite soft x86 server sales.

The analyst has ratcheted up its full year forecast for PC shipment growth from the 15.2 per cent it expected in June, to 15.7 per cent. It said that in the second quarter portable and consumer shipments in most regions showed strong growth, despite economic turmoil. It also predicts that volumes will continue to increase as consumers swallow the digital lifestyle Koolaid and buy additional systems.

IDC veep Bob O’Donnell said that "The right way to gauge the success of consumer PCs is no longer the adoption rate of households with PCs, or even the number of PCs per household, but rather the number of machines per individual”. Which will be nice for the vendors, as the Jones find yet another way to keep ahead of the rest of us.

For the record, total worldwide shipments should come in at 311.4 million in 2008, hitting 354 million in 2009 and breaching 401.5 million in 2010. Shipments will power to 441.8 million in 2011 and 482.6 million the following year.

And if you needed proof that the US is not the be all and end all of the electronics market any more, its share will be 70.8 million this year, hitting 74.8 million next year, 80.2 million in 2010, 85.2 million in 2011 and 90.7 million in 2012.

The bad news for vendors will be that average prices will continue to slide, leaving them racing to stand still on revenues.

Meanwhile, in the very much non—consumer end of the market, IDC said that HPC server revenue and shipments grew 10 per cent year on year in the second quarter. Shipments were at 45,000, generating $2.5bn of revenue. Solid growth came at the mid and high ends of the sector, while the low end x86 sector was soft. The market was dominated by HP, with a 37 per cent share, while IBM took 27 per cent and Dell took 16 per cent. ®

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