John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Latest PC Shipment Forecast Considerably Less Hysterical Than Predecessors

imagesSo that 11.9 percent decline in PC shipments that was supposed to occur this year? Not gonna happen, says Gartner. Neither is the 9.2 percent decline the research outfit projected back in March. Same for the 6.6 percent decline it forecast in May, the six percent decline predicted in June and the two percent decline it foresaw in September.

Nope. Turns out that 2009 PC shipments, which were once thought to be headed for certain disaster, aren’t going to decline at all. They’re going to grow.

By 2.8 percent.

Seems that rising consumer demand for netbooks is boosting unit sales to better-than-expected levels. That said, the market value of those sales is still projected to decline.

“Blame this year’s drop in market value on the unprecedented declines in PC average selling prices (ASPs) we’ve seen this year,” said Gartner (IT) research director George Shiffler. “The rapid decline in PC ASPs reflects a marked shift towards lower price points as customers have looked for ‘good enough’ PCs at the cheapest price, and vendors have tried to spur market growth by catering to ever-lower price points. We expect PC ASP declines to slow as the market recovers, but given the market’s competitive dynamic, we don’t see PC ASPs rising any time soon. As a result, growth in the market value of shipments will significantly lag shipment growth next year and beyond.”

One last point worth noting here. Despite Microsoft’s (MSFT) claims that sales of Windows 7 have been “fantastic,” Gartner says the operating system isn’t likely to have much impact on holiday PC sales. “We just don’t see consumers buying new PCs solely because of Windows 7,” said Shiffler. “We are expecting a modest bump in fourth-quarter consumer demand as vendors promote new Windows 7-based PCs, but the attraction will be the new PCs, not Windows 7.”

According to Shiffler, “The more critical question is, ‘When will businesses make their move to Windows 7, and what will they do about replacements in the interim?’ We don’t see businesses mainstreaming Windows 7 much before the end of 2010. We think many businesses will try to shift replacements to the back end of next year so as to sync their adoption of Windows 7 with their PC refresh. That will put a damper on early 2010 shipments.”


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