PC sales facing strong economic headwinds

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PC sales facing strong economic headwinds

The current economic turmoil could push PC sales growth down to single digits, Gartner has warned..

The analyst firm estimates that global PC sales will rise to 293 million units in 2008, up 10.9 percent from 2007.

But growth could still be stalled by the high price of oil, economic slowdowns in the US and China and slow replacement cycles.

"Slowing GDP growth affects PC shipments through its impact on consumer incomes and business profits," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner.

"Although the impact has probably softened over time as PC prices have fallen and PCs have become more indispensable to work and play, PCs are still far from being completely recession-proof.

"A deeper and more extended global slowdown emanating from the US and China would slow PC unit growth even more by sapping mobile PC demand, slowing emerging-market growth and delaying replacement activity."

Laptops are currently driving sales growth in the market, according to Gartner, and low cost mobile PCs, such as the Asus Eee PC, are proving very popular.

Emerging markets are also showing strong growth of 22 per cent as governments and consumers in developing countries become more computerised.

Meanwhile, the analyst firm predicts that the next major PC replacement cycle will start to kick in later this year.

The last cycle was in 2004/5 and Gartner believes that the next will run from 2008-10, during which a lot of sales will go to the mobile PC market.

"Replacements account for 60 percent of PC shipments worldwide and nearly 80 percent of US PC shipments, so growing replacement activity will provide a helpful boost to PC growth," said Shiffler.

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