Appetite for new PCs among businesses is driving growth in the PC market, according to analyst firm Gartner. In 2011, 385 million PC units will ship worldwide, it predicts, up 9.3% from 2010.
Gartner analyst Raphael Vasquez said businesses cut back on PC replacement and extended the lifetimes of their old systems in response to the recession, but that they had now started to upgrade. One important driver for this is Windows 7, the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system.
"Businesses have begun replacing aging PCs more vigorously" he said. "We expect the growing urgency for businesses to migrate away from Windows XP will drive significant professional replacements."
The report emphasised that growth in PC shipments is no longer being driven by consumer demand, as there is a "lack of compelling reasons" for consumers to upgrade their PCs.
Gartner researcher Ranjit Atwal remarked that the advent of tablet PCs had delayed consumer laptop purchases, but not replaced them altogehter. "Media tablets, such as the iPad, have impacted mobile growth, but more because they have caused consumers to delay new mobile PC purchases rather than directly replacing aging mobile PCs with media tablets," Atwal said, adding that Gartner believe the direct substitution of laptops with tablets would be minimal.
A separate Gartner researcher, George Shiffler, noted that the effects of the Japanese earthquake and nuclear disasters had been minor. "PC vendors have so far managed the threat of Japanese component disruptions," he said.