PC industry sees healthy growth in first quarter

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PC industry sees healthy growth in first quarter

Framingham (MA) – Initial 2006 PC shipment forecasts, which predicted a visible slowdown in the global PC market, may have been too conservative. According to a report released by IDC today, shipments were ahead of expectations in the first quarter, leading to an overall improved outlook and an estimated 2006 growth rate that has been increased to 10.8%.

Shipments of PC systems jumped by 12.6% in the first quarter year-over-year, IDC said. The number is well below the pace of 2004 (15.1%) and 2005 (16.0%), but exceeded the 11.8% forecast published by the market research firm in March of this year.

Despite unfavorable factors such as the delay of Windows Vista and overall rising inventory levels, the market researchers believe that the PC market will post stronger numbers for the complete year than initially expected. Instead of 10.5%, IDC no forecasts that the market will see 10.8% growth this year. With Vista in place in 2007, the market is believed to continue to improve and achieve growth of 11.7%.

However, not everything is rosy in the global PC market. The US and Western European market showed clear weaknesses in Q1, while growth in Japan, Asia/Pacific, and the “Rest Of World regions” surpassed IDC’s March projections by several points. For the complete year, US growth is estimated at just 5.7% , which – if proven right – would trail the global growth rate by about 47%.

2006 US PC sales are expected to hit about 67.5 million, up from about 63.9 million in 2005. On a global basis, IDC estimates that shipments will increases from 207.9 million in 2005 to 230.2 million in 2006. 2007 shipments are expected to come in at 257.1 million and 2008 shipments at 284.5 million.