The PC industry is in for a rough ride this year, according to Gartner, which is predicting a total of just 257 million units to be shipped in 2009, the sharpest decline in the history of the industry.
The number would amount to an 11.9 per cent drop from 2008, and is more than three times worse than the previous sharpest decline of 3.2 per cent in 2001.
"Slower GDP growth will generally weaken demand and slow new penetration. Lengthening PC lifetimes will reduce replacements, and supplier caution will keep inventories at historic lows until confidence in a recovery eventually firms," said Gartner research director George Shiffler.
"The impact of reduced replacements will be especially acute in mature markets, where replacements are estimated to account for around 80 per cent of shipments."
Worldwide mini-notebook shipments are forecast to total 21 million in 2009, up from 2008 shipments of 11.7 million. But, despite this growth, mini-notebooks are unlikely to prop up the market and prevent the overall PC slowdown, said Gartner.
However, the analyst firm added that the PC market is getting better at supply chain management and reacting to changes in consumer behaviour, having learned some tough lessons from previous industry troughs such as in 2001.
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