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Forecast Boosted For PC Sales

By Agence France-Presse Personal computer sales worldwide are being boosted by growing demand from the business sector, a market research firm said Sept. 27, lifting its 2004 growth outlook to 14.2%. International Data Corp. (IDC) said it sees global shipments of 176.5 million for the year after a strong second quarter. "Even with the slowdown in consumer activity, commercial growth has led IDC to increase projections for total 2004 shipment growth from a June estimate of 13.5% to a current projection of 14.2%," the Framingham, Mass., firm said. IDC said business sales jumped 17.2% in the second quarter, the highest since mid 1999, in a sign that growth in business demand was taking up the slack from weak consumer sales. "The market needs to be careful in interpreting these results," said Loren Loverde, director of IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. "Strong growth in Western Europe and rest of world played a significant role in boosting second quarter results, while growth in the United States missed forecasts and slipped into single-digits." Loverde noted that IDC has lowered growth expectations for the consumer and portable markets, and has trimmed its 2005 forecast by 0.2 percentage points to 10.5% growth. It also projects growth in future years to remain in single digits, relatively sluggish for the computer industry. "The tempered forecast of the U.S. market is somewhat in contrast to higher growth elsewhere, particularly in Europe," said Roger Kay, vice president of client computing at IDC. "Overall market maturity in the United States and uncertainty in both political and economic spheres has led us to revise our forecast modestly downward." IDC sees the U.S. market for personal computers up 10% in 2004 and 9.6% next year, lagging the overall global market. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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