Strong demand for portable computers and aggressive price cuts will help boost global sales of personal computers to record levels in 2003 and again in 2004, according to International Data Corp. (IDC). Revising upward its forecasts, the Framingham, Mass.-based company says it now expects 15.3% sales growth in the fourth quarter, which would mean an 11.4% rise for 2003 to 152 million, topping the record of 140 million in 2000. But because of steep price cuts, the value of PC sales will remain flat at US$175 billion, IDC said. And the value of sales will be 22% below the record level of 2000, because of lower PC prices. For 2004, IDC projects an 11.4% increase in unit sales to 169.9 million, and a 4% rise in shipment value. Much of the increase is coming from consumer sales, and faster-than-projected growth in sales of mobile, or laptop computers, the researchers said. "Following a surge in demand during the third quarter, and supported by an improving economic environment, we expect significant growth in the fourth quarter," said IDC researcher Loren Loverde. "Consumers remain the primary market driver, and while business purchases have yet to accelerate substantially, overall growth shows the market in mid recovery. We expect greater business participation and continued double-digit growth during 2004."