Forecast Lowered For Global Sales Of Personal Computers

By Agence France-Presse Global sales of personal computers will grow more slowly than anticipated due to weak economic conditions, concerns about war and declining purchases by governments and schools, according to market research firm International Data Corp. (IDC). IDC revised its forecast for worldwide shipments to 6.9%, after predicting 8% growth just three months ago. "We have moderate consumer growth, incremental technology improvements, a cautious business sector and persistent uncertainty over the economy, Iraq and North Korea," says IDC analyst Loren Loverde. "What's new is that public-sector spending on PCs is slowing. The decline in government and education spending is not unexpected, but it is accelerating, and the impact is showing on PC demand." The Framingham, Mass.-based research firm said worldwide shipments of computers for all of 2002 grew a scant 1.4% to 136.2 million, rebounding from its worst year ever in 2001. In the fourth quarter, sales were 38.4 million units, up 3.7% from the same period a year earlier. But IDC said falling prices is having an impact on the industry even as sales volume increases. "Shipment growth is expected to rise to 6.9% in 2003. Despite the improvement in volume, shipment value declined by 9.8% in 2002 and is projected to decline by 1.8% in 2003," IDC says. "The launch of new form factors, such as the media PCs and tablets, has added some zest to the PC market," says Roger Kay, director of client computing at IDC. "However, volumes of these systems still lag their buzz, and technology refresh will not be sufficient to drive significant shipments until the second half of the year, given economic and political uncertainties. Further out, we expect the impact of these new technologies to be more substantial." The IDC report, based on a survey of 55 countries, said the U.S. market is showing strength in the consumer sector, but that "public spending appears newly vulnerable to declining budgets." It predicted overall growth in the U.S. market of about 6%. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2003

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