September 9, 2011

Gartner revises PC market forecast downwards

by Darren Allan

Research firm Gartner has more gloomy news for the PC industry.

Back in July, following the second quarter results for PC sales in the US, the company announced a 2.3% year-on-year growth, which was considerably below its anticipated level of 6.7%.

And now the overall growth for the PC market in 2011 has seen its forecast slashed.

Gartner originally had a 9.3% worldwide growth level pegged for this year, but it has just changed that, in the light of the latest statistics, to just 3.8% growth (for a total of 364 million units).

However, further out predictions for 2012 have only been revised slightly downwards, from a 12.8% increase previously to a 10.9% increase. That seems optimistic given the current climate, and no doubt has room for further revision.

Unfortunately, it’s the US and Europe which is weighing the current year’s PC sales down.

Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, commented: “Western Europe is not only struggling through excess PC inventory, but economic upheaval as well.”

“US consumer PC shipments were much weaker than expected in the second quarter, and indications are that back-to-school PC sales are disappointing.”

“An increasing pessimistic economic outlook is causing both consumer and business sentiment to deteriorate in both regions. We’re expecting consumer spending to tighten in response. Business spending will also tighten, but less than the consumer space.”

Gartner reckons that growth will stay slow early in 2012, but that as global economies stabilise later in the year, strength will come back to the market.

We wouldn’t bet that the global economies will be stabilising next year, however, and that again seems like an overly optimistic sentiment.

It’s worth noting that Gartner doesn’t include tablets in the PC category, as some commentators do. Obviously tablets – well, certainly the iPad – are currently experiencing major growth, which is another reason for PC market wobbles.

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