Growing demand for PCs among small and medium sized-businesses (SMBs) will spell a positive year for resellers, according to new research from IDC.
SMBs will be key purchasers of laptops in 2004, with vendors striking more reseller partnerships to target this market, the analyst firm predicted.
Ian Gibbs, IDC European personal computing analyst, said: "There will be a lot of renewals next year. Last year people tried to prolong the life of their PCs due to the economy, but with the huge technological leaps they cannot delay any longer.
"When you're dealing with such a fragmented market the reseller channel is key."
The growth in demand among SMBs will lead to heavy competition among the likes of Fujitsu and IBM, while Dell's direct route already places it in a good position to target the market, the analyst group said.
But Greg Carlow, chief executive of PC reseller Repton, argued that most of the growth signs he had seen were in the corporate rather than SMB market, with them investing in more PCs rather than just upgrading.
"We've seen little or no change in the SMB market," he said.
High consumer demand, aggressive pricing and a dramatic shift from desktops to laptops will also drive worldwide PC growth to "record levels" in the fourth quarter of 2003 and 2004, IDC predicted.
Strong third-quarter results and projected growth of 15.3 per cent in the fourth quarter are expected to boost annual growth of worldwide PC shipments to 11.4 per cent - up from previous expectations of 10.2 per cent.
IDC's quarterly PC Tracker predicts that total shipments in 2003 will surpass 152 million at a value of just over $175bn.
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