PC Sales Forecast Raised After 2Q Surprise

By Agence France-Presse Technology market research group International Data Corp. (IDC) raised its forecast for worldwide sales of personal computers, saying the second quarter turned out better than expected. IDC boosted its projection to 8.4% unit growth from a prior forecast of a 6.3% increase. The group projects 10.2% growth in 2004, down slightly from an earlier 10.3% forecast. IDC, revising an earlier report on the second quarter, said PC makers shipped 33.9 million units or 9.6% more than in the same period a year ago, helped by strong public response to price cuts, increased demand for laptop computers and a modest rise in business demand. But because of price cuts, IDC said the value of global shipments is expected to fall by 1.9% in 2003 to US$171.7 billion before growing 2.1% in 2004. "Continued consumer spending is great for the market," says IDC's Loren Loverde. "Nevertheless, it was supported by short-term factors like a weak dollar and a limited impact from SARS, and it conceals the slow recovery in business spending. In terms of segment mix, we may see slightly more consumer demand and less business spending for the rest of 2003 than previously expected, but we believe overall market conditions merely shifted demand into the second quarter rather than significantly boosting long-term demand." The U.S. market was stronger than expected, largely due to federal government spending and consumer demand rather than business spending, IDC says, while projecting some improvement in business spending and a continuation of strength in the consumer sector. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2003

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