IDC raises estimate for PC sales

Growth in commercial PC shipments in the second quarter was the highest in that segment since 1999, the researcher says.

Researcher IDC has raised its estimate for the number of PCs that will be sold in 2004, saying it now expects sales of 176.5 million units, the company said Monday.

The year is expected to end with 14.2 percent growth, the company said, an increase from its earlier estimate of 13.5 percent.

IDC said the higher estimate reflects 17.2 percent growth in commercial PC shipments in the second quarter, the highest growth in that segment since mid-1999.

The consumer segment is projected to grow by just 9 percent in the second half of 2004, compared with 20 percent in the same period last year.

IDC warned that better performance in 2004 is no guarantee of the same trend in the future. In fact, the company reduced its growth projection for 2005, by 0.2 percent to 10.5 percent. In the years after that, IDC sees growth in the single digits.

Strong growth in recent quarters is partly due to a depressed market in earlier years, IDC said, and that growth should subside as the market recovery reaches maturity.

The research company added that strong growth in Western Europe and the rest of the world helped propel second-quarter results, while sales in the United States came in lower than expected--in the single digits.

Still, demand from enterprises will be strong in the United States, resulting in double-digit growth. Growth in the consumer market will be slow, the market researcher said.

In Europe, growth will pick up due to the strong position of the euro. Nevertheless, overall growth will slow in later years, as growth in portable PCs tapers off. In Japan, slow growth may continue, as enterprises remain conservative in their spending and as other consumer products compete with the PC.

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