Gartners reports worldwide PC shipments are on pace to reach 233.7 million units this year, a 10.5% increase from 2005. However, PC revenues are expected to reach $198.3 billion, a 2.5% decline.
Unit growth will continue to be price driven for the next several quarters, as PC replacement activity wanes and the battle between Intel and AMD escalates, said George Shiffler, research director for Gartner's Client Platforms research program.
Steeper PC price declines will spur unit growth in mature markets like the US over the near term, but the growth will eventually slow to mid-single digits in these markets, as PC replacements fade and saturation becomes more problematic. Vista's eventual release next year could stimulate some added growth, but Gartner remains skeptical of Vista's impact, Shiffler said.
The price declines will also drive faster growth in emerging markets,said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst for Gartner's Client Platforms research program. Growth should be more sustainable in these markets due to low penetration, expanding economies and a growing number of PC ownership initiatives. Emerging markets are expected to post solid double-digit growth during the next two years, Kitagawa said.