Bank predicts upturn in PC market in 2010

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Bank predicts upturn in PC market in 2010

Netbooks and Windows 7 to the rescue.

Market analysts at the Bank of America have raised the bank's 2009 PC unit growth forecast from the depths of minus 9 per cent to just minus 6 per cent instead, with a rather more optimistic plus 7 per cent in 2010, up from a more downcast plus 1 per cent prediction it made earlier this year.

Although the future looks brighter, the PC industry is not out of the deep dark pit of despair just yet though, with the bank saying that, excluding netbooks, units should be down 12 per cent year on year, "meaningfully worse than the four per cent unit decline in 2001."

BOA added that it was still modelling below normal seasonality for the second half of this year, with numbers only beginning to look up by mid-2010.

The bank therefore advises investors to keep a healthy dose of caution when shelling out for tech stocks, due to the continual "deteriorating global business conditions, constrained demand environment, and an elongated PC upgrade cycle."

As for average selling prices (ASPs), Bank of America highlights good news for consumers, with an average drop of 18 per cent year on year, much more than the 5 to 10 per cent price slump usually seen year on year for notebooks and desktops.

The reason for such a steep drop, says BOA, is that netbooks, with their tiny ASPs of US$300-600 are putting tremendous pressure on average $1,000 notebooks.

BOA's crystal ball predicts PC revenue growths will fall some 23 per cent this year and increase two per cent next year, still below the five per cent growth seen in 2008.

Netbooks appear to be the industry's little engine that could, with BOA declaring sales will continue"chugging along" and predicting to see 24 million netbooks shipped this year and 34 million shipped in 2010, making up about 12 per cent of total PC shipments.

BOA said there will be some "cannibalisation in the low-end notebook market, especially as the [netbook] machines become richer in terms of functionality and features."

Finally, in terms of Windows 7, BOA doesn't expect a pause or lag in PC sales as punters wait for the OS's October launch, as most retailers are offering free upgrade coupons to those who buy new machines now.

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