Gartner Dataquest Sees Pickup in PC Shipments

There are signs that worldwide demand for personal computers will accelerate during the second half of 2003, this according to a new study released Tuesday.

Global personal computer shipments are expected to reach 33.2 million units for the first quarter of 2003, a 4.8 percent increase over the first quarter of 2002, according to Dataquest, a unit of Gartner Inc.

But Dataquest expects an increase in demand during the second half of 2003, stating that it expects PC shipments to reach 138.7 million units, or a 7.9 percent increase over shipments for 2002.

While Dataquest admits the pace of economic recovery and the possibility of war with Iraq, could impact the level of PC demand, both by consumers and corporate customers.

Dataquest PC analysts say there are few compelling reasons for customers to upgrade to a new computer. For that reason, price is the main driver for PC purchases, as most existing computers have sufficient processing and memory power to conduct the most popular PC applications: e-mail, Web surfing and word processing.

The Dataquest PC shipment report said that many corporate customers are deferring PC purchases, as a result of layoffs that have allowed them to rotate used PCs to new employees. The report went onto say that instead of buying new machines; many IT departments are replacing components and refurbishing existing PCs.

But Dataquest does say there are signs that many corporate customers may be entering a new PC replacement cycle. Many companies made changes in the run up to the year 2000, now those machines are getting old. Dataquest says it expects “strong growth in the U.S. large accounts in the fourth quarter of 2002 may indicate a beginning of PC replacement cycle,” according to a company press release.

Gartner says it will provide additional details of the state of the computer hardware industry at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2003 on March 23-27 in San Diego, California.

In a separate Dataquest study released in early February, the company said Asia-Pacific shipments grew by 9 percent in 2002. The report said that PC shipments in the Asia-Pacific region reached 21.7 million units in 2002, an 8.6 percent increase over 2001. Growth for the worldwide PC market in 2002 was only 3 percent.