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Gartner Cuts PC Shipment Forecast Figures

Tablets could replace 10 percent of worldwide PC sales by 2014, according to the research firm.

IT technology research and advisory company Gartner reported Monday that worldwide PC sales will miss the 17.9 percent growth Gartner had initially projected for the year in September. But the report indicated that the market is still poised for double digit growth and is expected to total 352.4 million units sold in 2010, an increase of 14.3 percent.

Gartner has also adjusted its estimates for the coming year. The firm had previously stated that it expected 2011 PC sales to increase 18.1 percent over this year's numbers. It has now forecast that worldwide sales will increase by only 15.9 percent.

The research company reduced its worldwide projected figures owing to the strong sales of desktop alternatives by the average consumer. "PC market growth will be impacted by devices that enable better on-the-go content consumption such as media tablets and next-generation smartphones," said Raphael Vasquez, a Gartner research analyst, in a statement released to coincide with the report. "These devices will be increasing embraced as complements if not substitutes for PCs where voice and light data consumption are desired."

The study directly pointed to the success of the iPad and reported that many home users are opting for tablets instead of replacing or upgrading personal computers. It projected that tablets should replace 10 percent of PC sales by 2014.

For enterprises, Gartner indicated there is still hesitation to upgrade and add units, owing to the slow economic recovery. It also projected that the average PC lifecycle will increase as individuals adopt mobile devices into their everyday computing activities. The report also showed that, while virtual desktops, thin clients, and other cloud-related technology are slowly being adopted, they shouldn't directly impact worldwide PC sales until 2012.

While PC vendors had to contend with the uncertainty of the economically weak market the last few years, Gartner said that those PC companies that don't embrace new technology devices may not benefit from the recovering market.

"As the PC market slows, vendors that differentiate themselves through services and technology innovation rather than unit volume and price will dictate the future," said George Shiffler, Gartner's research director. "Even then, leading vendors will be challenged to keep PCs from losing the device 'limelight' to more innovative products that offer better dedicated compute capabilities."

The complete report, "Forecast Alert: Worldwide PC Forecast Downgraded as PC Market Hit by Disruptive Forces," can be accessed here.

About the Author

Chris Paoli (@ChrisPaoli5) is the associate editor for Converge360.