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IDC: 2010 PC sales will top 2008 peak

Sustained growth through 2014

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Happy days are not only here again in PC Land for 2010, but apparently the party is going to continue for the next five years as far as the forecasts coming out of market researcher IDC are concerned.

PC sales perked up considerably in the second half of last year, as El Reg previously reported, and sales were up sharply in the first quarter, with shipments up 27.1 per cent. Now IDC is confident enough about the recovery from the Great Recession to put a stake in the ground for 2010 and is now projecting even higher shipments than it expected a few months ago, with an expected increase of 19.8 per cent for the whole 2010 year.

Back in March, IDC was projecting that PC shipments worldwide would rise 12.6 per cent this year, with maybe five per cent revenue growth across all vendors and PC form factors. The IDC projections back in March showed that shipments of PCs would continue to grow at about that same rate annually, with slightly diminished growth in 2013 and 2014, so shipments would hit 531.3 million units in 2014, a factor of 1.8 larger than the 296 million units that shipped in a pretty awful 2009.

The projection was for 333.2 million PCs to be sold in 2010, with 25.9 million desktops and 50 million portables sold in the United States and 102.3 million desktops and 154.9 million portables sold in the rest of the world. That gives portables a 61.5 percent share in the original projections.

Fast forward to June for a new set of projections. With a shift away from the cheap netbooks that saved the PC market in 2008 and 2009 and toward more capable low-cost notebooks, average selling prices for PCs are on the rise. All-in-one desktops, which are increasingly popular at businesses, are also helping boost ASPs. And now, with the economies of the globe recovering, with some notable exceptions in Europe, IDC believes that the world is going to buy a lot more PCs in 2010 and 2011 - a little more desktops and a lot more portables.

IDC is now projecting that companies, governments, and consumers in the United States will buy 27.1 million desktops and 52.8 million portables in 2010, and that those outside the United States will acquire 110.4 million desktops and 164.5 million portables. All told, you're talking 354.8 million PC units out the door in 2010, an extra 21.6 million units added to the projections for this year.

The projections have been embiggened for every year between 2011 and 2014, and IDC is now projecting that a stunning 569.6 machines will sell in 2014, with 142.7 million desktops and 426.9 million portables. That gives portables a whopping 74.9 per cent of projected shipments in 2014. IDC's numbers show desktop PCs being flatlined in 2012, 2013, and 2014 while portables continue to grow nicely. But the growth rate for desktops will be tapering off as the years progress from 2010 through 2014.

All of these projections are predicated on the world not coming to an end in 2012 as the Mayan calendar predicts, or the Sun setting the atmosphere on fire in 2013, or the financial institutions on Earth not doing the far more likely thing and driving us into recession again around 2014 or so with some new get-rich scheme that blows up.

Coming back to the 2010 projections, IDC expects netbook shipments (which it calls mininotebooks) will moderate and only comprise 12 per cent of shipments, or about 42.6 million units. Desktop PC shipments are expected to rise 8.2 per cent this year against a very easy compare with 2009's awful figures, but after that growth will rapidly drop off and flatline.

Emerging markets are expected to see 26.6 per cent PC shipment growth this year, compared to 13.6 per cent growth in the mature markets of North America, Western Europe, and Japan. ®

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