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IDC: PC Sales Growth To Remain Robust in 2006

Research group IDC has upgraded its projections of global PC shipment growth for the fourth quarter of 2005 and calendar 2006. It seems that, even as growth slows, it’s nonetheless still continuing to grow, and more quickly than earlier estimates had predicted.

For the fourth quarter of this year, IDC forecasts that shipments will be up by nearly 15 percent over the same quarter a year ago. It had earlier predicted that number would be closer to 12.6 percent.

The third quarter, year on year, came in at a healthy 17 percent. IDC researchers are now guessing that overall 2005 shipments will come in at 15.8 percent -- a half point ahead of 2004’s growth rate and more than a point and a half above its earlier augury for the year.

This continuing double-digit growth comes, IDC says, despite slower worldwide economic growth and slackening PC replacement cycles. Some of that difference is being made up by the continuing popularity of less-expensive PCs and also wireless-enabled PCs. In the U.S., where growth is expected to rise 8.3 percent next year, IDC is predicting that portable PCs will comprise half of all client PC shipments by 2008.

Consequently, IDC is projecting growth of PC shipments in the new year to be in the neighborhood of 10.5 percent versus an earlier call of 9.1 percent. “The updated figures make 2006 the fourth consecutive year of double-digit shipment growth and raises the four-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for 2005-2009 to 9.4 percent,” IDC’s analysts said in a prepared statement.

What does that mean in terms of volumes?

Current predictions show 207 million new PCs sold in 2005, up from 179 million in calendar 2004. In the U.S., that translates to 64.2 million for 2005, up from 58.3 million last year. Meanwhile, IDC is anticipating shipments in 2006 of 69.5 million PCs in the U.S., and a grand total of 229.5 million globally.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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