updated 03:25 pm EDT, Thu June 25, 2009
Gartner on PC Drop in 2009
Analysts at Gartner today warned that the computer industry is on track to ship 6 percent fewer systems this year than it did in 2008. The new forecast has all companies shipping about 274 million computers versus 292 million and is blamed on both the poor world economy and the move away from desktops, which may plunge by 15.7 percent to make up 125 million of all computers sold. Gartner notes the decline is softer than feared as recently as mid-May but doesn't expect a true reversal until fall and a full recovery in 2010.
Notebooks are actually expected to grow in demand over the course of 2009 to 149 million, but Gartner cautions that this may actually hurt the industry. As more of the industry skews towards netbooks or can get adequate performance with lower-end notebooks, the average asking price for these PCs could drop by about 12.8 percent. Prices for desktops may drop even faster at 26.6 percent, Gartner says.
Researchers also downplay the significance of Microsoft's Windows 7 launch in October. In spite of Microsoft's attempts at quality improvement and promotion so far, Gartner believes the natural inertia of the Windows PC industry will mean that nothing short of a large-scale campaign could improve the situation.
"Unless Microsoft mounts a major marketing campaign in support of Windows 7, we think consumers will simply adopt the new operating system as they would normally buy new PCs and/or replace old ones," Gartner research head George Shiffler says. "As for professional users, we still expect them to put off adopting the new OS for at least a year until they have fully tested their applications against it."