Worldwide PC shipments are projected to grow by 15.2 per cent in 2008 to reach 310 million units fuelled by demand from emerging regions, new research predicts.
IDC's latest Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker forecasts that growth will remain in double-digits through to 2010, followed by high single-digit growth through to 2012 when annual global shipments will have reached 472 million.
The analyst firm believes that overall volume growth, combined with a steady transition to portable PCs which generally cost more than desktops, will help offset falling average prices.
The total value of PC shipments is projected to grow by 9.6 per cent in 2008 to more than $286bn.
Following years of strong growth, Asia/Pacific excluding Japan surpassed the US as the region with the largest PC market in total annual shipments at the end of 2007.
At the same time the Rest of World region, comprising Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Canada, is not far behind.
Rest of World led other regions on a quarterly basis in Q4 2007, and is projected to move from third to second place on an annual basis in 2008.
The US continues to grow at mid single-digit rates, but has seen growth well behind the better than 20 per cent increases in emerging regions.
Key factors driving the continuing strength of portable shipments, even in the face of economic pressure, are a greater emphasis on replacing desktops with portables and the emergence of ultra low-cost notebook PCs.
These include the Eee PC from Asus, systems built on the Classmate PC platform from Intel and the XO from the One Laptop Per Child initiative.
"Even as the PC market grapples with slower growth in more developed markets, the success of portable PCs continues to drive the market," said Loren Loverde, director of IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.
"Despite recent economic pressure, the consistent gains fuelled by portable adoption, falling prices and new users - particularly in emerging regions - will continue to drive growth during the forecast."
Richard Shim, research manager for IDC's Personal Computing programme, added: "Earlier in the year, the US PC industry held its breath regarding the impact of the economic slowdown on PC shipments.
"It is now clear that the commercial market will not see the refresh activity we had expected and we have lowered short-term projections as a result.
"Still, the consumer market remains relatively healthy and the overall US PC market will chug along at decent levels, albeit slower than previous forecasts and other regions, while consumer growth continues."
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