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Worldwide PC Shipments Forecast Cut for 2011

Research firm Gartner is getting big indications that tables and smartphones will eat into PC shipments for the rest of the year.

Research firm Gartner Inc. has slashed its Q2 2011 forecast for worldwide PC shipments, citing growing demand for tablets and smartphones with Internet capabilities that will cut into PC sales.

Gartner said it still expects PC shipments in 2011 to perform better than 2010 results by 10.5 percent, but the estimate is smaller than its original 15.9 percent jump that the company projected last November. Gartner also lowered its 2012 forecast, with expected worldwide PC shipments to be 13.6 percent higher than in 2011. That number ticks down by better than a full percentage point from a previous projection of 14.8 percent.

Based on its adjusted projections, Gartner expects worldwide PC shipments to total 387.8 million in 2011 and 440.6 million in 2012.

Mobile PC sales have previously been the bulwark of the overall PC market, attracting consumers even as the popularity of desktop PCs waned. For their everyday Internet and computing needs, Gartner said, notebook PCs were consumers' product of choice.

However, mobile PCs have taken a hit as the range of consumer devices with built-in Internet capabilities, particularly tablets, has grown.

"We expect growing consumer enthusiasm for mobile PC alternatives, such as the iPad and other media tablets, to dramatically slow home mobile PC sales, especially in mature markets," said Gartner research director George Shiffler in a press release. Shiffler expects consumers to keep their existing PCs for longer, and purchase tablets and other Internet-enabled alternatives as their primary mobile computing devices.

PC sales to enterprises are not insulated from tablets, either. Worldwide enterprise PC sales are expected to grow at a double-digit pace through 2012, fueled by companies' need to replace aging units. "However, even in the professional market, media tablets are being considered as PC substitutes, likely at least delaying some PC replacements," said Raphael Vasquez, senior research analyst at Gartner, in the release.

Besides the growth in tablet sales, mobile PCs have also been hampered by simply not being mobile enough, according to Gartner. Today's notebooks are not substantially lighter than earlier versions, and their limited battery life puts them at a disadvantage in the current age of all-day connectivity.

"These limitations have become all the more apparent with the rapid spread of social networking, which thrives on constant and immediate connections," Gartner said.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the Senior Site Producer for RCPmag.com.

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