Gartner: PC market to stay strong through 2004

Gartner: PC market to stay strong through 2004

Growth of PC shipments will continue at double-digit rates in the first quarter of 2004 and will hold that pace throughout the year, predicted market research company Gartner.

In the first quarter of 2004, PC vendors will ship 44 million units, up 13.3 per cent from the first quarter of 2003, Gartner said. Consumer notebooks continue to lead most of the growth as wireless technologies improve and prices fall, the company said.

The rest of the year will see an increase in the number of corporations upgrading their aging PC inventories, Gartner said. This corporate replacement cycle has been eagerly awaited for about two years, but has been spread out over a longer period of time compared to the last major replacement cycle in 1999.

Corporate customers will be a strong part of the market in the second half of the year, especially in the US, Gartner said. Companies will continue to gradually move forward with PC purchases as the economy strengthens and businesses become more confident in the recovery, the company said.

PC vendors will ship 187 million units in 2004, up 13.9 per cent from 2003 shipments, Gartner said. All four quarters in 2004 should show double-digit increases in PC shipment growth as compared to the previous year. In the fourth quarter of 2003, PC shipments increased 12 per cent from the same period in 2002.

The top two worldwide PC vendors are scheduled to report earnings over the next week, and both Dell and Hewlett-Packard will also provide guidance on how they see the PC market shaping up for the rest of the year. Dell will report fourth-quarter earnings after the close of the US stock market this afternoon, while HP reported earlier this week that it expects to record $19.5 billion in fourth quarter revenue and earnings per share ahead of analyst estimates.

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