Worldwide PC shipments are on track to reach 297-million units in 2008, a 12,5% increase from 2007 shipments of 264-million units.
Gartner analysts have increased their outlook from their previous forecast due to the continued strength in mobile PC growth. In March, analysts had projected an increase of 10,9%.
"Mobile PC shipments exceeded our expectations in the first quarter of 2008," says George Shiffler, research director at Gartner. "Mobile PCs continue to have strong momentum and the global economic environment is proving to be less punishing than we expected. Even so, it¹s a bit premature to say PC shipments won¹t be impacted by a weaker global economy, especially if oil and food prices continue to soar."
Technology and design improvements not only continue to lower the absolute price of mobile PCs but also continue to improve the value proposition of mobile PCs relative to desk-based PCs, all of which is driving strong mobile PC demand globally. Worldwide mobile PC shipments are forecast to grow 30,1% growth.
"ASUS' Eee PC is attracting lots of attention in both mature and emerging markets by addressing price points once thought impossible for mobile PCs," says Shiffler. "Several vendors are set to introduce competing mini-notebooks in the second half of 2008.
"While we are still evaluating the prospects for this new class of mobile PCs, we think mini-notebooks could add momentum to mobile PC growth if they are able to move beyond being mere novelties and establish a broad and distinct market for themselves. Overall, mobile PCs continue to exhibit incredible momentum, especially in emerging markets, which show few signs of significantly waning anytime soon."
Emerging PC markets will remain a key shipment growth segment. Emerging market PC shipments are forecast to grow 17,1% in 2008 compared with 6,3% for mature market shipments. Emerging market mobile PC growth is expected to outdistance mature market growth by an even greater margin – 39,4% versus 19,1% in 2008.
"PC shipments should continue to maintain double-digit growth so long as emerging markets remain strong," Shiffler says. "Emerging markets appear less imperilled by the economic slowdowns taking place in the US and other mature markets than we once thought.
"However, rising oil and food prices are accelerating inflation in many emerging markets and this could begin to squeeze PC demand in those markets, especially if local policymakers respond by curbing GDP growth to cool inflation. Even so, it is unlikely that emerging market PC growth would slow so much that global PC growth would slip into the mid-single digits."