Analysts cut PC sales growth forecasts

A prolonged recession, the end of the netbook boom and saturation in developed markets are all factors for the revised predictions for 2011, analyst house IDC has said
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Analysts at IDC have cut PC sales forecasts for the year, citing saturation in developed markets, competing products and an increasingly conservative economic outlook.

In February, IDC said worldwide PC shipments were likely to grow by 7.1 percent during 2011, but on Monday the analyst house revised that forecast down to 4.2 percent. The company noted that growth in recent years had largely been down to the netbook boom, but people were increasingly shunning the cheap mini-notebooks in favour of tablets, smartphones and e-readers.

"Consumers are recognising the value of owning and using multiple intelligent devices and because they already own PCs, they're now adding smartphones, media tablets, and e-readers to their device collections," IDC vice president Bob O'Donnell said in a statement. "This has shifted the technology share of wallet onto other connected devices."

According to IDC, consumers are also increasingly aware of the prolonged recession and mindful of the fact that many of the latest technological innovations in PC design — thinness, longer battery life, instant-on capabilities and touch — will not be mainstream before 2012.

PC shipments in the first quarter of 2011 were down 1.1 percent year-on-year, IDC said; there was a 4.4-percent drop in consumer sales that was partially offset by a three-percent boost in enterprise sales. Developed markets were hardest hit, with consumer PC sales falling in double digits in western Europe, the US and Canada.

"This trend in consumer growth, along with only modest growth in the commercial sector, a cautious outlook from PC makers, disruptions including the Japan earthquake and nuclear disaster, the Arab Spring, and reduced economic projections (including government stimulus) will keep overall growth in single digits [for] the rest of 2011," IDC said, adding that innovations would "keep PC growth healthy in the long term".

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