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Gartner Raises PC Sales Forecast

The need for mobility in the home has prompted Gartner to increase its 2005 forecast for worldwide PC shipments.

The research firm originally forecast a 9.9 percent increase over last year, but now it says 2005 growth will be 10.2 percent, which translates into 202.1 million units.

Among the drivers for increased growth for PC shipments is replacement activity. Worldwide mobile PC shipments, said Gartner, are expected to grow 26.5 percent in 2005, while deskbased units are now forecast to grow 4.6 percent.

"Mobile PCs are continuing to attract more new users as mobile prices fall and wireless becomes more pervasive," said George Shiffler, principal analyst for Gartner's client platforms research in a statement.

"Growing numbers of users are replacing their old desktops with more portable mobiles, and this is one of several factors helping to boost mobile PC growth."

Gartner analysts said that home PC replacement activity will peak early next year and then fade over the course of 2006. Professional replacement activity is already in the process of peaking and is expected to wane over the remainder of this year.

Dual-core processors will attract some attention but Gartner expects that it will be limited to "techies" and early adopters, as there are few applications currently that can take advantages of dual-core processing capabilities.

The big driver is really mobile PC shipments that are now expected to grow at a rapid 26.5 percent pace in 2005. Mobile shipments represent under 30 percent of all PC shipments, according to Gartner. Desktop PCs, in comparison, will only grow a snails pace of 4.6 percent.

Gartner's numbers are in contrast to statistics released earlier this year from rival research firm IDC. In March IDC lowered its estimates for 2005 from 10.1 percent growth to 9.7 percent.