PC sales rebounding quicker than expected

Worldwide PC shipments will grow three per cent in 2002 to 125.5 million units, faster than previous estimates of 1.8 per cent growth, market researcher IDC said Wednesday.

All regions except Asia-Pacific saw faster sales growth than expected in the fourth quarter, and economic indicators in the key U.S. market have finally begun to point consistently to a recovery, IDC said.

IDC said that several trends in the fourth quarter of 2001 pointed to a PC sales recovery. These included:

– in Europe, sales of commercial desktop and consumer portables picked up in the fourth quarter and are expected to continue growing in 2002

– China, which now accounts for 42 per cent of PC shipments in Asia-Pacific excluding Japan, grew at 7.8 per cent in the fourth quarter and is expected to continue to drive growth in the region in 2002

In the U.S., consumer demand should recover through 2002 along with most commercial segments, IDC said, although the education market will remain weak throughout the year. The recovery in western Europe is expected to be slower than in the U.S. because of reserved commercial spending and because the slowdown in 2001 was less dramatic.

Japan remains one of the weakest markets and overall PC shipments in Japan will see a double-digit decline in the first half of 2002 and commercial market shipments will barely show positive growth, even by the fourth quarter. Government spending will be the key to PC sales growth in Asia-Pacific, and consumer growth should recover to solid double-digit growth in the second half of the year, IDC said.

In 2001, worldwide PC shipments fell 5.2 per cent below their 2000 level of 128.5 million units. This year’s three per cent growth will be followed by a sales jump of 10.9 per cent in 2003, when worldwide PC shipments will reach 139.2 million units, IDC said.

IDC Canada in Toronto is at http://www.idc.ca