PC shipments to top 2008 levels?


With markets continuing to perform well after last year's economic downturn, analyst IDC is now predicting global PC sales for 2010 will outstrip 2008 levels and remain strong until at least 2014.

The research firm's latest Quarterly PC Tracker forecasts that PC sales for the year will be up 19.8 per cent on last year's levels, with the momentum built in the final quarter of 2009 continuing strongly throughout 2010. Better still, IDC predicts that growth will continue until at least 2014.

Looking at first-quarter performance alone, this year's sales were up a significant 27.1 per cent year-on-year, with Q1 2009 widely seen as when the economic downturn was at its worst. A year later, however, things are looking far better, largely on the back of product innovation and sales in emerging regions, which are up 37 per cent year-on-year.

"New devices such as e-readers and media tablets will pose disruptive challenges to conventional usage models while opening up intriguing possibilities in the consumer and mobile business spaces," IDC research analyst Jay Chou commented.

With low- to mid-range portable PCs continuing to dominate, commercial desktop sales are also rebounding, having experienced growth for the first time since 2008, while all-in-one systems also performed well.

Overall, the latest forecast predicts 354.8 million units sold in 2010, an increase of 21.6 million on the previous forecast in March. Emerging markets are expected to continue their strong growth by rising 26.6 per cent, nearly double the growth of mature markets.

IDC forecasts PC shipments will continue to show double-digit growth worldwide for the next five years, reaching sales of nearly 570 million annually by 2014, with portable systems continuing by then accounting for 75 per cent of all sales, or 426.9 million units.

"Aside from brute computing power, the value proposition of the PC will be increasingly measured by the flexibility with which it can meet the demands of content creation and content consumption as well as achieving optimal portability," Chou said.