Gartner slashes PC sales outlook

Slow graph

PC sales forecasts for this year and 2012 have been cut by Gartner, as budgets tighten amongst businesses and consumers alike.

The analyst firm previously predicted PC unit shipments would grow 9.3 per cent in 2011 over 2010, yet that has now been slashed to 3.8 per cent.

Whilst Gartner expected PC sales to rise 12.8 per cent in 2012 over this year, it now thinks growth will hit just 10.9 per cent.

HP's decision to rethink its PC strategy simply highlights the pressure that PC vendors are under.

The decline in the Western Europe market was a significant factor in the overall forecast cut.

"Western Europe is not only struggling through excess PC inventory, but economic upheaval as well," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.

"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."

The emergence of tablets has caused a significant dent in the PC market as well. Despite the pessimism which surrounded the devices when the iPad arrived, consumers have flocked to the form factor. The Apple device remains the dominant player by a significant margin, however.

"More worrisome for the long term is that Generation Y has an altogether different view of client devices than older generations and are not buying PCs as their first, or necessarily main, device," Atwal added.

"Tablets have dramatically changed the dynamic of the PC market and HP's decision to rethink its PC strategy simply highlights the pressure that PC vendors are under to adapt to the new dynamic or abandon the market," added George Shiffler, research director at Gartner.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.