Without a "killer application" to drive new PC sales, manufacturers are leveraging emerging markets to boost global PC sales in 2007, according to the latest forecast by Gartner. Worldwide PC shipments are projected to total 257,1-million units in 2007, an 11,1% increase from 2006 shipments of 231,5-million units.
Much of the growth in emerging markets is being driven by new PC penetration (not replacement purchases). About 55% of PC shipments to emerging markets reflect new PC penetration.
Gartner analysts expect emerging markets to contribute approximately 128-million new PC placements to unit shipment growth during the next two years (77-million desk-based PCs and 51-million mobile PCs). This will constitute about 25% of all PC units expected to be shipped globally in 2007 and 2008.
Although PC manufacturers are finding growth opportunities in emerging markets, they are facing mounting challenges in more-established markets.
"Vendors continue to face a thorny mix of select growth opportunities and serious challenges in mature markets," says George Shiffler, research director for Gartner's Client Platforms Markets Group. "Continuing strong demand for mobile PCs, especially among consumers, offer vendors tremendous growth opportunities. But, generally weak desk-based PC replacement activity and narrowing penetration opportunities, especially among larger businesses, pose some serious challenges.
"The release of Microsoft Windows Vista operating system at the end of January has, so far, failed to stimulate the market in the way many hoped," Shiffler says. "Our market data suggest Vista has had very limited impact on PC demand or replacement activity. We don¹t see Vista having a significant effect on these going forward unless Microsoft becomes much more aggressive in its marketing efforts."
Worldwide mobile PC shipments are forecast to total 103,2-million units in 2007, a 27,1% increase from 2006. Meanwhile, desk-based PC shipments are on pace to total 153,9-million units in 2007, up 2,4% from last year.
"Consumer mobile PCs remain the PC market¹s principal growth driver, thanks to falling average selling prices (ASPs), increasing performance, and the continuing spread of wireless access," says Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst for Gartner Dataquest's Client Computing Markets Group. "Globally mobile PC ASPs have fallen below $1 100.00, but buyers in many parts of the world have an impressive range of choices below $1 000.00."