Worldwide PC Shipments Expected To Rise 10.9 Percent in 2008

Analyst firm Gartner predicted this week that worldwide PC shipments will be up 10.9 percent this year over last, although it also warned that strains on the economy could drop that number into single digits.

In 2007, PC shipments hit 264 million. Gartner expects that figure to rise to 293 million based on growth driven mainly by three factors: mobile computing, emerging markets and the large number of companies that haven't replaced their PCs since 2004 or 2005, the last time Gartner saw a major cycle of replacements (although it described the upcoming cycle as "more modest").

According to Gartner, emerging markets now account for 60 percent of worldwide PC shipments, with growth in that area rising 22 percent in the last quarter of 2007.

"Rapid economic growth [in emerging markets] is not only stimulating PC demand among business, governments and educational institutions, but also generating new demand among the ever-growing numbers of increasingly affluent consumers," George Shiffler, research director at Gartner, said in a release announcing the findings.

Gartner also pointed to the increased demand for mobile computing -- driven by better mobile access and lower prices -- as another key driver. The company expects this area to continue to grow as lower priced laptops become more widely available.

"In many respects, the PC market is fundamentally in good shape. Mobile PCs continue to exhibit strong momentum, emerging-market growth remains robust and desk-based PC replacement activity is stirring," Shiffler said.

However, he added, "Slowing GDP [gross domestic product] growth can and does affect PC shipments through its impact on consumer incomes and business profits....A deeper and more extended global slowdown emanating from the U.S. and China would slow PC unit growth even more by sapping mobile PC demand, slowing emerging-market growth and delaying replacement activity."

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Becky Nagel is a contributor to Application Development Trends. She is the editor of ADT's sister sites, and, and is co-editor of You can contact her at [email protected].