Despite periodic concerns of a general spending slowdown in the computer industry, unit volume of PCs is expected to rise 11.1 percent this year to 89.2 million units worldwide, according to a report by International Data Corp. (IDC), released this week.
For 1999, IDC estimates worldwide PC market growth at 12.8 percent on unit volume of 100.6 million. Led by a traditional seasonal upswing in the fourth quarter, IDC is forecasting PC unit growth of 12.2 percent in the fourth quarter.
The strong outlook is due to a healthy PC sales market in western Europe and the United States, and some signs of positive growth in the Asia/Pacific region and Japan. The consumer market, rebounding via portable PC sales and purchases from an expanding number of Internet users, is driving the overall market, IDC analysts said.
"We see the same pistons driving the growth engine that we've seen all year," said Bruce Stephen, IDC's group vice president for worldwide personal systems research. "We expect more of the what's driving the current market next year, albeit in slight moderation."
The report also indicated 1999 would be marked by new consumer distribution channels, such as grocery stores.