PC shipment growth to remain above 10% through 2008 with limited impact from a delayed Vista launch
Mar 28, 2006
Following another strong performance in the fourth quarter, growth in the PC market is expected to slow to just over 10% for the next several years, according to the latest forecast from IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. Although this is still relatively strong and an improvement from the November 2005 forecast, it is also notably below the growth of more than 15% for the past 2 years and will bring growth in shipment value to below 5%.
IDC continues to believe the market will slow in most regions during 2006, most notably in Western Europe, Japan, and Rest of World, although total worldwide growth is expected to be at least 10.5% through 2008. This is slightly more optimistic than the November 2005 forecast, which called for growth to slip below 10% starting in 2007. The update reflects a shift of growth from 2006 to 2007 that combines the influence of stronger commercial spending in 2007 with a larger response to Microsoft's Vista release and related developments around digital integration. Short term expectations for the United States and Japan were lowered slightly while the outlook in Europe has improved to reflect continuing portable adoption and a more gradual decline in growth. Overall, worldwide shipments of PCs are projected to grow by 10.5% in 2006 and 10.7% in 2007, compared to November projections of 10.6% and 8.9%, respectively. Total shipment volume is expected to reach 254 million in 2007 with a value of US$232 billion.
The recent delay in the release schedule for Microsoft's Vista is expected to have a limited impact on overall PC shipment volumes. IDC already expected growth to slow notably in 2006 following a wave of replacement purchases and portable adoption, so the Installed Base is relatively fresh. Commercial users are expected to give the new OS a thorough review before beginning any migration, although the consumer market should see a more immediate impact.
"Some consumers will certainly delay PC purchases until Vista is available, but we expect the delay to shift only moderate volume from the fourth quarter of 2006 into 2007 and will not cause a loss of sales," explained Loren Loverde, director of IDC√Ę??s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. "The timing of the release will have some impact on when consumers buy, but not so much on whether or not they buy. In addition, we expect Microsoft and PC manufacturers to adjust their marketing and upgrade options to appeal to consumers in the fourth quarter even though the new OS is won't be ready. Instead of a dramatic effect on PC shipment volumes, the delay will probably have a larger impact on PC vendor and Microsoft marketing efforts that will need to be adjusted to fit the release schedule, and that will add complexity and cost."
"The prevailing wind driving U.S. PC market growth continues to be consumers and the passage of desktops to portables as their dominant computing platform," said Richard Shim, senior research analyst, Personal Computing. "Declining prices, improving performance and battery life, and widescreen displays in notebooks are luring new buyers and upgrades, while stunting desktop PC growth to a trickle. This surge is contributing to the pace of overall notebook adoption and will likely bring closer the day that notebooks out ship desktops in the U.S."
U.S. and Worldwide PC Shipments and Growth, 2003-2007
(Shipments are in millions of units)
USA Units (M)
Worldwide Units (M)
USA Growth (%)
Worldwide Growth (%)
PCs include Desktop, Notebook, Ultra Portable, and x86 Server and do not include handhelds.
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, March 2006
IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker gathers PC market data in 55 countries by vendor, form factor, brand, processor brand and speed, sales channel and user segment. The research includes historical and forecast trend analysis as well as price band and installed base data.
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