PC Sales Forecast Lifted In Line With Economy

By Agence France-Presse Worldwide sales of personal computers are expected to increase 3% this year, International Data Corp. (IDC) said March 13 in an upward revision of a forecast made last year. IDC raised its forecast for worldwide PC shipment growth in 2002 from the December forecast of 1.8% in response to signs of growth in key segments, including a turnaround in the U.S. market. "Economic indicators in the United States have finally begun to point consistently to a recovery," says Roger Kay, an IDC analyst. "Given that productivity and confidence measures correlate closely with PC shipments, we can expect improving performance in the PC market through the year. Thus, we have raised our outlook from slightly negative to slightly positive in terms of expected year-on-year growth in 2002." IDC expects worldwide PC shipments to continue to decline year on year in the first quarter of 2002, with the second quarter roughly on par with a year ago. Growth should pick up to about 10% in the third and fourth quarter. Last year IDC said PC sales globally fell 5.2% to 121.8 million units, with the U.S. market down some 12%. In 2002 IDC projects 2.5% growth in the United States, with strong gains in the home market offsetting a slight decline in business sales. "With growing signs of economic recovery supporting the market, both consumers and commercial buyers are feeling more confident making significant IT purchases," says IDC's Loren Loverde. "By yearend we expect consumers will be even more optimistic and that their PC spending will reflect that. Commercial spending should also improve, as replacement buying picks up." With the exception of Asia-Pacific, all regions grew slightly faster than expected in the fourth quarter of 2001, and the United States recovered more quickly than other regions, according to IDC. China, which now accounts for 42% of shipments in Asia-Pacific excluding Japan, will continue to drive growth in the region. Although Japan's economy continues to hold down sales, IDC does not see further erosion in the market in Japan. The European market is expected to recover slower than the United States due to reserved commercial spending and because the slowdown in 2001 was less dramatic, the firm said. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2002

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