PC shipments to recover in 2010, IDC says

Expecting the recession to worsen, IDC updated its PC shipment forecast on Thursday, saying shipments would decline further in 2009 before showing a gradual recovery in 2010.

IDC said that PC shipments are expected to fall by 4.5 percent in 2009, downgrading the earlier forecast of 3.8 percent it made in December. The total shipments will take a big hit in the first half of 2009, falling by 8 percent, IDC said.

Worldwide PC shipments in 2009 will total 282 million, a drop from 295.2 million in 2008. The rise in unemployment and decline in consumer spending will be the major factors for a decline in PC shipments over 2009, said David Daoud, research manager at IDC.

Consumers will defer buying or upgrading PCs to 2010 when they have more cash in the bank, which could help PC shipments rise then, Daoud said. Worldwide PC shipments are expected to grow to 300.9 million in 2010.

However, it's not consumer spending alone that will determine shipments, Daoud said. PC makers will also have to identify ways to increase shipments by adding new features and personalizing laptops.

PCs right now are being designed for the mass market, but that may need to change as customers look for unique features. New laptops will need to come with more connectivity options, screen sizes and designs. Consumers will specifically look for netbooks that pack more features in smaller sizes, like Internet connectivity through WiMax and 3G mobile broadband, Daoud said.

Netbook shipments totaled 10 million in 2008, with shipments expected to double in 2009, IDC said. The netbook market saw high return rates because of small keyboards and screen sizes when units started appearing in 2007, but as PC makers like Asustek Computer, Hewlett-Packard and Dell released more personalized models with bigger screens, netbook shipments rebounded. The increased shipments reflect that users are now getting comfortable with netbooks, Daoud said.

Netbooks will continue to be a larger part of overall laptop shipments in the upcoming years, Daoud said. Even though overall PC shipments are expected to fall, laptop shipments will continue to grow, Daoud said. Worldwide laptop shipments will total 148.6 million in 2009, a slight rise compared to the 142.6 million units shipped in 2008. Desktop shipments will drop or have slow growth from 2009 through 2013, IDC said.

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