Worldwide PC shipments are projected to total 366,1-million units in 2010, a 19,7% increase from the 305,8-million units shipped in 2009, according to the latest preliminary forecast by Gartner. Worldwide PC spending is forecast to reach $245-billion in 2010, up 12,2% from 2009.
This forecast is more optimistic than Gartner's December 2009 forecast, which anticipated 13,3% growth in PC shipments in 2010 and 1,9% growth in spending.
Gartner anticipates all regional markets will return to growth and exhibit more normal seasonality in 2010. The market will remain robust with unit growth continuing to increase strongly over the next few years as home PC demand accelerates and professional replacements rise in the recovery from the global recession.
"The PC industry will be overwhelmingly driven by mobile PCs, thanks to strong home growth in both emerging and mature markets," says George Shiffler, research director at Gartner. "Mini-notebooks are again forecast to boost mobile PC growth in 2010, but their contribution is expected to decline noticeably afterwards, as they face growing competition from new ultra-low-voltage (ULV) ultraportables and next-generation tablets. Desk-based PC shipment growth will be minimal and limited to emerging markets.
"We expect mobile PCs to drive 90% of PC growth over the next three years," saysShiffler. "In 2009, mobile PCs accounted for 55% of all PC shipments; by 2012, we expect mobile PCs to account for nearly 70% of shipments."
Apple's announcement of its upcoming iPad has created much discussion in the marketplace regarding market opportunities for traditional tablet PCs and next-generation tablet devices, such as the iPad. Gartner's initial thinking is that vendors could ship up to 10,5-million traditional tablets and next-generation tablet devices worldwide in 2010.
"User requirements are clearly segmenting, and the mini-notebook proved this point," says Ranjit Atwal, principal analyst at Gartner. "Vendors can no longer afford to just think in terms of traditional PC form factors or architectures. With the rise of web-delivered applications, many users no longer need a traditional PC running a resident general-purpose operating system and fast x86 CPU to satisfy their computing needs. Apple's iPad is just one of many new devices coming to market that will change the entire PC ecosystem and overlap it with the mobile phone industry. This will create significantly more opportunities for PC vendors as well as significantly more threats.
"Opportunities and risks for the PC market certainly seem tilted toward the upside now, following many quarters in the balance," says Atwal. "New challenges are arising that will extend the PC ecosystem, increasing choice and competition. Ultimately, it will be the consumer who decides just how far that ecosystem extends and at what rate the PC industry grows."