PC shipments to grow just 3.8 percent in 2009

IDC releases updated forecast for worldwide shipments next year. It's a major reassessment of an industry hit hard by the faltering world economy.

Analysts are readjusting their expectations for the PC industry next year, and it's not looking good.

On Wednesday, IDC released an updated forecast for the number of PCs expected to be shipped next year. In 2009, PC shipments will rise just 3.8 percent worldwide, according to the report.

That's a drastic cut from the 13.7 percent growth IDC had predicted for 2009 earlier this year. The hardest hit areas will be the emerging PC markets of Latin America, Central Europe, the Middle East, and Africa due to falling commodity prices and the worldwide credit crunch.

But the U.S. PC market is expected to fare even worse. Next year will bring a decline in shipments of PCs by 3 percent compared to this year. However, IDC says that there will be "low single-digit" increases in the years following.

The key factors affecting PC shipments are the rate of portable PC adoption, falling prices, and the PC upgrade cycle.

"Low-cost mini notebooks will help volume, but pressure margins and revenues," said Lore Loverde, director of IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. "Consumer and commercial segments will be much more conservative in their purchases over the coming year or two, and while low prices will remain essential, they will not drive volumes as they did in the past few years."

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