Mobile PC Demand Pushes Up Gartner PC Sales Forecast - InformationWeek

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Mobile PC Demand Pushes Up Gartner PC Sales Forecast

Market researcher Gartner increased slightly its forecast for worldwide PC sales this year, as mobile-computer shipments were higher than expected in the first quarter.

Market researcher Gartner Inc. on Thursday increased slightly its forecast for worldwide PC sales this year, as mobile-computer shipments were higher than expected in the first quarter.

PC shipments this year are expected to rise by 10.2 percent over last year to 202.1 million units, Gartner said. The firm previously forecast a 9.9 percent increase in shipments.

"The first quarter came in about where we thought it would, but the mix was much more slanted to mobile (sales) than we expected," Gartner analyst George Shiffler said. "It's higher, but only marginally higher."

The boost in mobile sales was offset, but not completely, by lower-than-expected sales of desktops, Shiffler said. Key drivers behind laptop sales are lower prices, wireless capabilities and the fact that people can take them on the road. As a result, consumers and businesses are often opting for mobile PCs over desktops.

Mobile PC shipments are expected to increase by 26.5 percent this year, while desktop sales are forecast to grow by 4.6 percent. Laptops make up just less than 30 percent of all PC shipments.

Replacement activity, however, is peaking among professionals, and is expected to fade rapidly over the rest of the year, Shiffler said. Replacement of home PCs, on the other hand, is expected to peak early next year, and fade gradually over 2006.

As a result, Gartner expects PC shipments to fall into the single digits next year, despite stronger growth in the mobile market.

Gartner doesn't see any new technologies that could boost sales this year. Dual-processor machines are expected to attract people who like to own the latest products, but not mainstream computer users. Software capable of taking full advantage of dual-core capabilities are not expected to be available until next year, at the earliest, the research firm said.

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