Apple’s iPad and other Internet-connected media tablets are draining demand for laptops and notebook computers, market researcher Gartner said on Thursday, sharply lowering its worldwide PC forecast this year.
Consumers are diversifying their computing across a raft of new mobile devices, ending five years of strong growth in demand for portable PCs, Gartner said.
Worldwide PC shipments are expected to reach 387.8 million units this year, a 10.5 percent increase from last year, the firm said, lowering its previous forecast of 15.9 percent growth.
For next year, PC shipments are forecast to reach 440.6 million, representing a rise of 13.6 percent from this year, but down from its prior estimate of 14.8 percent.
“These results reflect marked reductions in expected near-term unit growth based on expectations of weaker consumer mobile PC demand, in no small part because of the near-term weakness expected in China’s mobile PC market, but also because of a general loss in consumer enthusiasm for mobile PCs,” Gartner research director Ranjit Atwal said in a statement.
Over the past five years, sales of laptops and notebooks have driven the PC market with average annual growth rates nearing 40 percent, the firm said.
“However, due to the spread of low-cost embedded Wi-Fi modules, Internet access is now available through a multitude of mobile devices that allow consumers to engage in virtually all their favorite online activities without the need of a mobile PC,” Gartner said.
Sales of consumer mobile PCs in mature markets were projected to average 10 percent per annum from this year through 2015.
Worldwide, the professional market was expected to continue to show double-digit growth this year and next as aging PCs are replaced.
“However, even in the professional market, media tablets are being considered as PC substitutes, likely at least delaying some PC replacements,” Gartner senior research analyst Raphael Vasquez said.
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