PC Shipments Bouncing Back

Strong demand from consumers, along with continued cut-rate prices and interest in portable devices will help drive worldwide PC growth in the fourth quarter of 2003 and into 2004, according to tech research firm IDC.

In addition, IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker found that strong third quarter results and projected growth of 15.3 percent in the fourth quarter alone would boost annual growth of worldwide PC shipments to 11.4 for the year. That’s an increase from prior growth projections of 8.4 percent.

The report said total shipments in 2003 are now expected to surpass 152 million but that value would remain flat at just over $175 billion.

The forecast is an increase over the prior growth expectations of 8.8 percent over 2000, which IDC said was the previous highest year for PC shipments, with a 22 percent decline in total value “due to aggressive pricing and a shift toward lower-end configurations as overall computing power increases.”

Loren Loverde, director of IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, said after a surge in demand during the third quarter, along with an improving economic environment, the research firm expects “significant growth” in the fourth quarter.

“Consumers remain the primary market driver, and while business purchases have yet to accelerate substantially, overall growth shows the market in mid recovery. We expect greater business participation and continued double-digit growth during 2004.”

Roger Kay, vice president of Client Computing at IDC, noted that within the numbers the firm is also seeing a dramatic shift in purchases from desktop to notebooks. “We expect this trend to continue for several more years, although the rate of change may be near its maximum right now.”

Consumers remain the strongest segment in the United States and should continue to lead the market in the first half of 2004, IDC said.

It also found that federal government activity remains strong and has expanded outside of defense, while business spending continues to improve gradually.


Shipments and Growth
Worldwide Units (millions) 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
Consumer 52.6 47.7 49.2 55.7 60.9
Commercial 87.6 87.0 87.7 96.8 109.1
Total 140.2 134.7 136.9 152.6 169.9
Worldwide Growth
Consumer -9.3% 3.2% 13.2% 9.2%
Commercial -0.7% 0.8% 10.5% 12.6%
Total -3.9% 1.7% 11.4% 11.4%
Source: IDC

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