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Gartner Revises PC Sales Downward

Market research firm Gartner revised its forecast for 2011 down to 9.3 percent from its previous forecast of 10.5 percent growth. Total unit sales will be 385 million for the year, according to a report the firm released this week, "Gartner PC and Media Tablet Forecast Update, 2Q 2011."

The revised forecast resulted in large part to consumers in mature markets tightening their spending, according to Gartner analysts, or delaying purchases as they shift some of their spending away from netbooks and toward devices like Apple's iPad.

"Consumer mobile PCs are no longer driving growth because of sharply declining consumer interest in mini-notebooks. Mini-notebook shipments have noticeably contracted over the last several quarters, and this has substantially reduced overall mobile PC unit growth," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, in a statement released to coincide with the report. "Media tablets, such as the iPad, have also impacted mobile growth, but more because they have caused consumers to delay new mobile PC purchases rather than directly replacing aging mobile PCs with media tablets. We believe direct substitution of media tablets for mobile PCs will be minimal."

At the same time, organizations are beginning to pick up replacing aging PCs following some delays caused at least in part by the recession. Those replacements, according to Gartner, will help drive PC growth over the next 18 months.

What will not be as significant a factor as previously expected is the Japan earthquake and related catastrophes of March 2011.

"Desk-based PC shipment growth has been significantly affected and business continuity plans are accelerating the shift to mobile PCs and alternate computing models," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner. "However, the impact of Japan's twin disasters on worldwide PC shipment growth has been minor, and PC vendors have so far managed the threat of Japanese component disruptions."

About the Author

Dave Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's educational technology online publications and electronic newsletters.

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