PC sales down but not out
An economy in flux continues to spell trouble for the PC market, as research firm Gartner has lowered its 2011 PC market growth forecast from 9.3 percent to just 3.8 percent.
Gartner's analysts predict that industry-wide PC sales will reach 364 million units in 2011. Furthermore, the research firm slashed projections for 2012 as well, forecasting growth of 10.9 percent -- down from earlier estimates of 12.8 percent.
The lower outlook is attributable primarily to downturns in the US and Western European economies. Many businesses are delaying plans to upgrade their desktop and laptop computers until they have more confidence in the economy, Gartner notes.
Additionally, tablet computers have eroded some PC sales, according to Gartner. Increasingly, businesses and consumers -- especially students returning to school -- are turning to newer, trendier tablets rather than traditional PCs.
Despite slumping PC sales, more traditional computers are not out of the competition yet. Many manufacturers and industry observers expect the Ultrabook™ -- a slim, lightweight take on the laptop -- to breathe some life into the PC market when models begin hitting shelves in late 2011. In fact, according to research firm TrendForce, Ultrabooks will account for 10 percent of the notebook market by the end of 2012.