San Jose, California, market research firm Dataquest predicts that PC sales will rise only 21.4 percent during the holiday season this year, compared with last year's 30 percent increase.
Industry experts say consumers are more computer-savvy and know that if they wait the prices will go down. Recent price cuts byApple Computer and Hewlett-Packard are also cited for this year's lower numbers.
According to Dataquest, PCs still top consumer wish lists, but experts say company profits will decline. "I think Microsoft was banking on its consumer applications to fuel Windows 95 and it has not worked as well as they thought," said Robbin Young, editor for Windows Watcher. "I don't think Microsoft is as happy as they thought they would be this season."
Some analysts disagree. "I'm surprised, because this year there's a lot of motivation for people to go out and buy because there's so much," said Jerry Michalski, an analyst with EDventure Holdings.