PC manufacturers have suffered perhaps more than any other technology vendors during the downturn in IT spending. But this misery is set to end in 2003. At least, this is the view of market research companies IDC and Gartner Dataquest, which have both forecast a strong rise in the worldwide shipments of devices in 2003.
IDC forecasts that sales of personal computers, including desktop PCs and laptops, will rise by 8.3% in 2003 and then accelerate by a further 11% in 2004. According to IDC, this growth will be driven partly by strong demand for wireless and broadband networks, as well as new computer designs. This optimism is despite IDC forecasting that businesses and consumers increased their purchases of PCs by just 1.6% in 2002.
IDC’s main rival, Gartner, forecasts a 9% jump in sales of PCs for 2003, but this is sharply down from its earlier forecast of a 14% increase. The company has also revised its 2002 forecast for PC sales growth downwards from 5% to between 2% and 4%.
Charles Smulders, Gartner’s vice president for computer hardware platforms, said organisations would delay purchasing new PCs in 2003, partly as a result of shrinking IT budgets and improved technology. He added that users tend to demand faster Internet connections and not more powerful PCs, based on faster processors
In reflection of this slowing in buying patterns, Gartner has changed its forecasting model for PC sales from the assumption that businesses replace PCs every three years to a replacement cycle of every four years.