Notebook sales soar as PCs become 'necessities'
Worldwide sales of PCs are rocketing, according to Gartner, and it's consumers rather than businesses that are doing the buying.
Global shipments are expected to hit 376.6 million units this year, up 22 percent in 2009. Worldwide PC spending is forecast to reach $245.4 billion in 2010, up 12 percent from 2009.
But while the professional PC market is projected to grow 13.1 percent this year, the home PC market will grow by 29.5 percent.
Sales of laptops rose by 43 percent.
"PC demand in the consumer segment continues to strengthen even though the global economy remains uncertain. Consumers are now viewing PCs as necessities rather than luxury items," says Ranjit Atwal, principal research analyst at Gartner.
"In the downturn, PCs remained the electronic device of choice on which to spend household income in mature markets, and we do not expect this to change either in 2010 or beyond."
The professional market is still doing well, though, says Atwal.
"The aging life of PCs will drive replacements. Organizations will find it tougher to further extend PC life cycles without incurring more costs," he says.
"This, together with the adoption of Windows 7, will generate robust demand in the professional market. Larger businesses expect to start replacements in the second half of 2010, with the majority replaced in 2011. We now expect Windows 7 migration to last through 2012."
Mini-notebooks are still popular, but growth is slowing. Shipments are forecast to total 41.8 million units in 2010, 30 percent up on last year.
"The mini-notebook segment will be impacted by increasingly competitive ultralow-voltage (ULV) products, the decreasing prices of all mobile PCs and the maturing preferences of consumers," said Raphael Vasquez, research analyst at Gartner.
"Media tablets will not impact the mini-notebook segment this year. However, media tablets, such as the iPad and similar devices, will significantly detract from mini-notebook shipments in 2013 and onward, when we expect their prices to be lower and, more importantly, their functionality to be more similar to mini-notebooks."
In Gartner's most likely scenario, approximately 10 million media tablets are expected to ship in 2010.