Gartner Lowers PC Growth Forecast to Under 10 Percent

Market research firm Gartner has lowered its 2011 forecast for PC shipment growth due to shifts in consumer spending and the rising popularity of other portable computing devices, such as tablets.

According to the recent "Gartner PC and Media Tablet Forecast Update, 2Q 2011" report, PC unit sales will grow by just 9.3 percent this year -- not 10.5 percent, as Gartner previously projected -- to total 385 million.

Besides consumers in mature markets tightening their spending, Gartner analysts cited the growth of tablet devices like Apple's iPad for the more conservative forecast.

"Consumer mobile PCs are no longer driving growth because of sharply declining consumer interest in mini-notebooks. Mini-notebook shipments have noticeably contracted over the last several quarters, and this has substantially reduced overall mobile PC unit growth," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, in a statement released to coincide with the report. "Media tablets, such as the iPad, have also impacted mobile growth, but more because they have caused consumers to delay new mobile PC purchases rather than directly replacing aging mobile PCs with media tablets. We believe direct substitution of media tablets for mobile PCs will be minimal."

However, more organizations are once again replacing aging PCs after a lull caused at least in part by the recession. Those replacements, according to Gartner, will help drive PC growth over the next 18 months.

What will not be as significant a factor as previously expected is the Japan earthquake and related catastrophes of March 2011.

"Desk-based PC shipment growth has been significantly affected and business continuity plans are accelerating the shift to mobile PCs and alternate computing models," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner. "However, the impact of Japan's twin disasters on worldwide PC shipment growth has been minor, and PC vendors have so far managed the threat of Japanese component disruptions."

Security Back in Business
Meanwhile, following a significant drop in 2009, the security industry has seen a resurgence in 2010, according to a separate Gartner report, "Market Share Analysis: Security Software, Worldwide, 2010."

Gartner reported a 12.2 percent increase in worldwide IT security solutions sales, from $14.7 billion in 2009 to $16.5 billion in 2010. The growth was driven in part by new delivery models and new types of technologies being introduced. Significant growth trends were seen in the categories of Security as a Service, security information and event management, and secure Web gateway products.

"Products within the security market are undergoing rapid evolution, in terms of both new delivery models -- with security as a service showing increasing popularity -- and new technologies being introduced, often by startup companies," said Ruggero Contu, principal research analyst at Gartner, in a prepared statement. "Key vendors continued to expand their product portfolios, buying companies where appropriate and expanding their reach into emerging markets."

Symantec easily retained its leadership position, hitting revenues of $3.12 billion in 2010 for an overall 18.9 percent market share. No. 2 McAfee saw greater growth over the period (7.3 percent versus 5.8 percent) and came in at $1.71 billion and a 10.4 percent market share. Trend Micro saw 5.7 percent growth, hitting $1.04 billion and a 6.3 percent market share.

Rounding out the top 5 were IBM, which also saw a 7.3 percent increase, winding up at $814.7 million and a 4.9 percent market share, and EMC, which saw a massive 25.6 percent growth in the period, winding up in the No. 5 slot at $626.6 million and a market share of 3.8 percent.

About the Author

Dave Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's educational technology online publications and electronic newsletters.