Expectations lowered for 2011 PC shipments, but not by all

Two leading IT analyst firms recently lowered their estimates for PC shipments in 2011 for several of the same reasons.

In early June, research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) lowered its estimate for worldwide PC shipments to 4.2 percent growth from its previous projection of 7.1 percent issued in February. As for the slow growth in 2011, they cite “a combination of declining first quarter shipments, an increasingly conservative economic outlook, relative saturation among developed market consumers, and competing products” as the reasons for the revised and more conservative projection.

Two days later, another research firm, Gartner, Inc., also projected weaker worldwide growth by changing their previous estimate of 10.5 percent growth to 9.3 percent for 2011. Citing that PC growth was driven by consumers for most of the last decade, Gartner said that with consumers in mature markets throttling back spending because of economic uncertainty and with no “compelling reasons for consumers, in general, to replace their PCs, PC unit growth has slowed and must once again rely on businesses to drive it.”

However, chip maker Intel took exception to these lower growth estimates. According to WSJ.com, “even if tablets cannibalize one-third of laptop sales,” Intel expects PC unit shipments to grow 11 percent this year.  “Intel has criticized market researchers for failing to adequately take emerging markets into account in their PC sales forecasts,” according to ibtimes.com, which also reports that Intel is looking toward “China and other emerging markets to drive [PC] growth.”

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