The global business PC market this year is projected to grow by 13.1% from 2009, Gartner reported Wednesday. Driving sales is the need to replace aging PCs that in better times would have been tossed sooner.
"Organizations will find it tougher to further extend PC life cycles without incurring more costs," Gartner analyst Ranjit Atwal said in a statement. "This, together with the adoption of Windows 7, will generate robust demand in the professional market." Gartner's latest findings supported what major U.S. PC makers have seen. Dell and Hewlett-Packard have reported higher revenue and profits in their latest earnings statements, attributing the results in part to more spending by businesses.
While companies ramp up spending, consumers are expected to continue to outpace businesses. Rather than luxury items, PCs have become necessities in many households. As a result, the worldwide home PC market is expected to rise by 29.5% year over year in 2010.
"In the downturn, PCs remained the electronic device of choice on which to spend household income in mature markets, and we do not expect this to change either in 2010 or beyond," Atwal said.
Gartner predicts worldwide PC shipments overall will increase 22% this year to 376.6 million units from 308.3 million units in 2009. Total spending is expected to increase 12% to $245.4 billion.
In looking at separate market segments, Gartner said sales of netbooks, the fastest growing PC category during the recession, would slow. The inexpensive mini-notebooks will account for 18.6% of mobile PC shipments this year, falling to 13.9% by 2014.
Netbook sales over the period are expected to give way to stiffer competition from ultra-low voltage products, which offer larger screens and higher performance for roughly $300 more. Such PCs typically weigh from two to three pounds and have longer battery lives than standard laptops.
"Some consumers purchased mini-notebooks based solely on price," Gartner analyst Raphael Vasquez said. "Many consumers are now choosing purchases up the price curve rather than at the bottom of it."
Gartner doesn't include media tablets, such as the Apple iPad, in its PC market report. Unlike standard PCs, such devices do not run fully functional operating systems, such as Windows or Mac OS X.
Nevertheless, Gartner expects such devices to start drawing sales from netbooks in 2013 and onward, as prices drop and the functionality of media tablets become more similar to netbooks.
On a regional basis, Western Europe, China and the United States will generate more than half of the PC shipment growth this year, Gartner said. Next year, more than half the growth will come from U.S. and China.