Gartner has revised its estimates for worldwide PC shipments in 2009, forecasting a rise of 2.8 per cent rather than a drop of two per cent.
The analyst house said that PC shipments will reach 298.9 million units in 2009, and will rise by over 12 per cent in 2010. The increase has been attributed to a better than expected third quarter.
"Shipments in the third quarter of 2009 were much stronger than we expected, and that alone virtually guaranteed that we would see positive growth this year, " said George Shiffler, a research director at Gartner.
"We are anticipating seasonally modest growth in the fourth quarter of 2009, but growth will appear quite strong because shipments were so weak in the fourth quarter of 2008. This could lull vendors and market watchers into thinking that the market is recovering faster than it really is."
The statistics reveal that the mobile PC market is looking healthiest. Gartner expects laptop sales to rise 15.4 per cent this year, and netbook sales to nearly double. Desktop PC shipments, meanwhile, will decline nine per cent in 2009 and barely rise at all in 2010.
Gartner warned that, although PC shipments will rise, the market value of PCs will fall by over 10 per cent in 2009. The value will not begin to rise until 2010, and then by a modest 2.6 per cent.
The predictions are reflected in the latest quarterly results from the two top PC vendors. HP's PC division showed shipments up eight per cent overall, but a fall in revenue of 12 per cent, while Dell reported a 54 per cent drop in profit.
"Blame this year's drop in market value on the unprecedented declines in PC average selling prices we've seen this year," said Shiffler.
"The rapid decline reflects a marked shift towards lower price points as customers looked for 'good enough' PCs at the cheapest price, and vendors tried to spur market growth by catering to ever-lower price points."
Gartner said that forecasts for fourth-quarter sales are good, but that they would look better than the reality because last year's fourth quarter results were so poor.
Contrary to some reports, Gartner does not expect Windows 7 to have a great impact on sales. "We don't see businesses mainstreaming Windows 7 much before the end of 2010," said Shiffler.
"We think many businesses will try to shift replacements to the back end of next year so as to synchronise their adoption of Windows 7 with their PC refresh. That will put a damper on early 2010 shipments."
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