Global PC shipments will reach 185 million units in 2004, but analysts are warning there is now "a greater potential for downside" as growing economic uncertainty in the US begins to hit sales.
In a preliminary third-quarter forecast, Gartner reduced its PC sales growth estimates for this year from projections of 13.4 per cent made in the second quarter to a more modest 12.6 per cent.
"Recent US economic data does increase the uncertainty over the PC market's performance in the second half," said Kiyomi Yamada, analyst for Gartner's client platforms research, in a statement.
"Any economic downturn would be felt in both the business and home PC markets. However, we believe that the most likely outcome is for the market to register double-digit growth in 2004."
The ongoing build-up of older PCs in the installed base continues to exert strong replacement pressure, added George Shiffler, principal analyst for Gartner's client platforms research.
"PC users are sitting on an ageing installed base that remains ripe for replacement," he said in a statement.
"So long as economic conditions remain supportive we believe users will respond, but the recent run-up in oil prices and talk of a US economic 'soft patch' increase the possibility that this replacement cycle could be undercut by external events."
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