Research firm IDC expects global PC sales will grow 10.3 percent in 2010, up from an estimated 1.3 percent increase this year. Notebooks will continue to be growth drivers with an estimated sales increase of 18.1 percent, while desktop PC sales are expected to remain stable with a tiny growth of 0.1 percent. IDC estimates PC shipments will continue to see double-digit growth until at least 2013.
Buoyed by strong back-to-school demand, worldwide PC shipments returned to positive growth in the third quarter of 2009 (3Q09) with an increase of 2.3% after three consecutive quarters of decline. Consumer portables remained the key driver, with shipments increasing 33.5% from a year ago, while consumer desktop demand remained weak as the market continued its transition to mobility. The decline of commercial PCs also started to slow in 3Q09, providing a hint that IT spending will gradually pick up in upcoming quarters. Mini Notebooks (a.k.a. Netbooks) continued to see strong growth with a 37% gain over the previous quarter, while the Mini Notebook share of consumer portables increased to 28% from 14% a year ago. According to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, the strong showing in 3Q09 and growth in key segments will lead to net growth of 1.3% for 2009 and set the stage for further gains throughout the forecast period.
Looking forward, the market is expected to quicken the pace of growth in 2010. Emerging regions, which now account for half of the total market, will lead the way with double-digit growth for 2010 while mature markets are also expected to make steady gains. Desktop shipments will be roughly flat in 2010, while portable PC growth of 18.1% will continue to drive overall volume gains. The commercial sector is expected to rebound in the second half of 2010. Mini Notebooks will continue to grow, but at a slower rate, as the introduction of new ultra-thin portables will generate new growth points and limit the share captured by Mini Notebooks.
"Vendors are competing aggressively to capture back-to-school and holiday demand," said Jay Chou, research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. "Beyond stabilizing their business, PC vendors are trying to position themselves for gains as the market recovers. We're seeing aggressive promotions and expect innovations leveraging new technologies, including ultra-thin designs, touchscreens, and LED panels. The technology changes and efforts to stand out in an increasingly commoditized market will lead to further product and customer segmentation and add to the advantage of market leaders in covering the breadth of products, technologies, and market segments."
"Once again, the PC market shows its resiliency," said Loren Loverde, program director IDC Worldwide Trackers. "The speed of market stabilization and growth in key segments reflect the essential role of personal computing today. Technology evolution and falling prices remain a compelling combination. As commercial spending recovers in 2010, we expect to see robust growth over the next several years."
"An aging installed base of PCs to replace, along with government aid and declining average selling prices are key ingredients in a recipe for resurgence of PC shipments into the commercial market segment," said Richard Shim, research manager for PCs at IDC. "The combination of a recovering commercial market and a healthy consumer market will lead to double-digit shipment growth through 2013."