PC vendors will ship 33.2 million units worldwide in the first quarter, an increase of 4.8 percent on last year's figures for the same period, according to the latest market study from Dataquest, an arm of Gartner.
The market is expected to rebound later in the year as businesses start replacing PCs bought in the late 1990s as part of investments to fix Year 2000 (Y2K) problems, Dataquest said. Full-year shipments are expected to reach 138.7 million units, up 7.9 percent compared with 2002,
Dataquest is more optimistic than Merrill Lynch, which last week reduced its full-year 2003 PC shipment growth estimate to 137.6 million units, or 5 per cent growth, down from its previous forecast of 7 per cent growth.
Demand for PCs was still weak and uncertainties about war and economic recovery dampened consumer confidence as well as corporate PC purchases, Dataquest said.
PCs bought in the late 1990s would normally have been replaced by now, but some users wanted to stretch PC lives to five years, Merrill Lynch said.
Increasingly, instead of buying new PCs, users were upgrading old ones with new components, Dataquest said. Some companies also had unused systems lying around because of employees that were laid off. These systems were being reused to a greater degree than in the past.
The worldwide PC market showed double-digit shipment growth until 2000 when 134.5 million units were shipped. The number of shipments then dropped 4.2 per cent in 2001 to 128.9 million units. Meagre growth returned in 2002 with a 1.7 per cent increase and total shipments of 131 million units, Merrill Lynch reported.