Gartner: PC sales to drop despite Windows 7

Research firm Gartner have published their predictions for PC sales for 2009, predicting that worldwide sales will fall by 6% from 2008 levels. The sales of netbooks, however, are set to rise.

Gartner forecast that 274 million computers will be sold this year, down from 292 million units last year. This is actually higher than the 257 million units they predicted earlier this year due to growth that is expected in the fourth quarter of 2009. This growth is set to then set continue into 2010 with a growth of 10.3% currently projected.

21 million netbooks are expected to have been shipped this year and 30 million are predicted for next year. The report also says that there is increasing competition between netbooks and "low-end mainstream mobile PCs" - which include Apple's iPhone and Amazon's Kindle according to The Microsoft Blog. Mobile computers are themselves set for a 4.1% increase in sales from last year to 149 millions units, but overall spending on them is set to decrease by 12.8% as they become cheaper.

Desktop PCs sales are predicted to fall by 15.7% from last year to 125 million, with spending on them declining by 26.6%. George Shiffler, research director at Gartner, commented: "Both mobile-PC and desk-based PC units are being held back by users extending PC lifetimes and delaying replacements in response to the ongoing economic slowdown. The good news for the industry is that delayed replacements won't be lost replacements. Our research indicates replacements should grow strongly in 2010 and 2011, helping to power the market's recovery."

Gartner's analysts also predicted that the release of Windows 7 in October of this year is unlikely to cause a large upturn in PC sales. "Although the buzz surrounding Windows 7 has generally been quite positive, we don't expect the market to significantly deviate from its normal seasonal trends in reaction to its release," Mr Shiffler said. "Unless Microsoft mounts a major marketing campaign in support of Windows 7, we think consumers will simply adopt the new operating system (OS) as they would normally buy new PCs and/or replace old ones." In regards to business users, he added: "we still expect them to put off adopting the new OS for at least a year until they have fully tested their applications against it."

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