Research firm Gartner says worldwide PC unit growth is on pace to total 364 million units in 2011, a 3.8 percent increase from 2010, according to its latest preliminary forecast.
But that’s down from previous projections of 9.3 percent growth in 2011, it said in a news release issued today.
The forecast is better for next year, when PC shipments are predicted to reach 404 million units by the end of 2012 – a 10.9 percent increase from 2011. But that’s still down from previous estimates of 12.8 percent growth for 2012.
Gartner attributes the “notably lower outlook for 2011 PC growth” largely to sharply downgraded forecasts for Western Europe and the United States in the second half of the year. The lower outlook for 2012 is the result of a weaker 2011, and also a slower start to 2012 with an expectation for better growth in the second half of next year as economies stabilize and new mobile PC form factors enter the market, it said in its news release.
Gartner analysts said that while PCs are still important to consumers and businesses, their purchases are seen as something that can be delayed.
More worrisome for the long term is that members of Generation Y are not buying PCs as their first, or necessarily main, device, according to Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.