IDC revises PC shipment forecast downward

Citing the turbulent economy, market researcher International Data Corp. (IDC) Wednesday revised its forecast for U.S. PC shipments downward and said it now expects a decline of 3.1 million units or a drop of 6.3 per cent this year compared to a year ago.

In addition to bringing down U.S. shipments, the U.S. economy played a factor in pulling down the initial worldwide PC shipment forecast for the year by nearly 50 per cent, IDC said. Initial forecasts by IDC for worldwide shipments showed a 10.3 per cent growth rate in 2001, but IDC now believes those will grow just 5.8 per cent to 138.9 million units.

U.S. consumer PC sales also are on the wane and now are supposed to fall 17.3 percent for 2001, presuming a continued decline in the economy, IDC said. First-quarter consumer PC shipments in the United States declined 26.4 per cent compared to the first three months of last year, IDC said.

Commercial PC shipments, in contrast, achieved mid-single-digit growth rates, according to IDC. Still, commercial spending is expected to fall off in the coming quarters, as declines in consumer spending begin to affect the commercial market.

IDC now expects PC shipments in the United States to rise only 4.6 per cent to 47.4 million units this year compared to 2000, as economic retrenchment is occurring in sectors like the auto, steel and computer markets and will continue to affect the PC market into 2002.

Outside the United States, PC shipments will fall to a growth rate of 12.9 per cent compared to initial forecasts of 15.1 per cent for this year, IDC said. Growth outside the United States is supposed to reach 16 per cent in 2002, with the worldwide growth rate reaching 12.2 per cent, IDC said.

Factors that will adversely impact PC sales outside the United States include falling consumer spending in Western Europe and declining growth in Asian markets. Latin American and Canadian markets will feel the affects of the struggling U.S economy and will see PC shipments slow, while poor conditions in Turkey will pull down growth in the Middle East. The commercial market in Western Europe, however, appears to be a bit healthier, IDC said.

IDC is a division of International Data Group Inc. (IDG), the parent company of IDG News Service.

IDC, is headquartered in Framingham, Mass. IDC Canada, in Mississauga, Ont., can be reached at