Market research company IDC has slightly lowered its forecast for growth of PC shipments worldwide based on a significant decline in government and education spending, despite signs of life among enterprise PC customers.
Last December, IDC predicted that PC shipments would grow 8.3 per cent in 2003. The forecast for growth in worldwide shipments this year now stands at 6.9 per cent, reflecting a sharp drop-off in public sector IT spending, director of client computing at IDC, Roger Kay, said.
"The public sector dropped off rather dramatically, because the tax receipts were lower in 2002," he said. "Budgets are severely constrained, and the last flush of public spending was the third quarter of 2002."
The uncertainty around a possible war in Iraq and the cautious outlook in other parts of the world were helping to stifle growth, he said.
Corporate spending, at least among enterprises, appeared to be picking up, Kay said.
The long-awaited PC refresh cycle was starting to gain steam as companies examined their aging infrastructures and realised they could pick up much more powerful systems for a relatively cheap price, he said. But the up-tick in enterprise spending had not been accompanied by increased spending among small and medium-size businesses, and hadn't been enough to offset the decline in public sector spending.
Shipment value was expected to decline 1.8 per cent in 2003, reflecting the further erosion of average selling prices among PC vendors, Kay said.
Commercial growth was expected to be weaker in the US, compared to the rest of the world. US corporate PC spending was forecast to grow 2.9 per cent while worldwide commercial growth would come in at 6.5 per cent, IDC said.