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IDC lowers PC forecast for '05

Market researcher revises its prediction for PC shipments worldwide, blaming the Japanese and U.S. economies.

Global PC shipments will hover around 195 million units during 2005, compared to about 178 million in 2004, according to a revised forecast released by IDC on Wednesday.

The 2005 figure represents growth of 9.7 percent, lower than an earlier projection of 10.1 percent issued in November. Market researcher IDC attributes the lower-than-expected growth to the delayed economic recovery in Japan and a cautious outlook in the United States. The total shipment value is projected to rise 5.3 percent to $209 billion in 2005.

IDC's projections are roughly in line with those from market researcher Gartner, which expects a 9 percent rise in PC shipments this year over 2004.

In the United States, IDC said, shipments are expected to grow to 62.7 million in 2005, compared with 58.3 million in 2004--growth of 7.6 percent. This is markedly lower than the 11 percent growth seen in the past two years, IDC said.

"While IT buyers in the United States have indicated firm intentions to buy in 2005, we have kept the U.S. forecast modest because of what we see as a host of risk factors," Roger Kay, vice president of client computing at IDC, said in a statement. "These factors include a recovery that appears to be getting long in the tooth, a lack of jobs growth, rising budget and trade deficits, persistently high oil prices, a Treasury-draining foreign war, rising interest rates, a stock market that continues to move sideways and record-low household savings rates."

In Western Europe, notebook PC shipments are expected to jump 20 percent in 2005, following more than 30 percent growth in 2004 and about 40 percent the year before. The business segment in Japan, which saw strong 12 percent growth in 2004, is likely to dip below 5 percent this year, IDC said. In the Asia-Pacific region, growth will be slower than the 16 percent seen in 2004 but will remain in the double digits, despite the Indian Ocean tsunami in December and efforts to control China's economy.

By 2009, PC shipments are expected to reach 273 million annually with a value of $245 billion, the market researcher said.