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Worldwide PC shipments, prices up

Gartner forecast says while PC shipments worldwide will increase more than previously thought, average selling price should continue to drop after this year's brief bump.

More computers than expected will ship this year, thanks to the need for PCs in emerging markets, particularly China, according to research firm Gartner.

Although Microsoft's new Vista operating system hasn't provided as big a boost as previously thought, worldwide PC shipments should pass 257 million units by the end of this year, according to the figures compiled by Garter analyst George Shiffler. That's an 11.1-percent increase over the 2006 shipment total of 231.5 million units.

It's also a slight bump up from the 10.5 percent unit growth Gartner had projected back in March. The adjusted forecast can be attributed to better sales of notebooks, in addition to the flood of new PCs to places like China, according to Shiffler.

More than half of the 128 million PCs expected to ship to emerging markets over the next two years will be for first-time use rather than as replacement computers, a trend expected to continue in the next decade, according to an eight-year forecast compiled by Forrester Research and released earlier this month.

The average selling price in 2007 for desktops and notebooks worldwide is hovering around $852, according to Gartner. That's about $20 above analysts' estimate earlier this year, but Shiffler said the increase in prices--due to the decline of the dollar, higher shipments of notebooks and a small boost by the release of Windows Vista--is likely temporary.

"They're still falling, but what happened is this year is, they started falling at a slightly slower rate. Bottom line: I don't think vendors should take comfort in the notion that price (declines) have decelerated a bit," he said. "We think we'll be back falling at a 7 percent year-over-year rate before long."