Bumper Christmas ahead for PC market

PCs are likely to be among this Christmas’s best-selling gifts as consumers upgrade to higher-performance systems and switch to notebook PCs.

Bumper Christmas ahead for PC market

Sales are being driven by falling component prices, entertainment applications such as games, videos and music, growing demand for portable machines and consumer adoption of Windows Vista. The weak dollar is also helping to drive sales in Europe, according to industry analysts.

“A lot of laptops go with the gifts under the trees,” says Gregory Spierkel, chief executive of Ingram Micro, the world’s largest distributor of PCs and computer products.”We’re seeing pretty good progress with notebooks across the board. I see that trend continuing for the current quarter.”

Some of the biggest buyers are consumers in emerging markets whose rising incomes are allowing them to make big-ticket purchases for the first time, according to market researcher IDC, which is forecasting 12.6% growth in global PC shipments this year, up from 9.7% in 2006.

Back to the fore

The PC is enjoying a resurgence following several years in which digital music players, mobile phones and automotive gadgets such as sat nav devices topped consumers’ holiday wish lists.

“The computer market has legs,” says Roger Kay, president of market researcher Endpoint Technologies Associates. “That’s surprised a lot of us who wondered, ‘Haven’t people gotten tired of this yet?’ The answer is, they haven’t.”

“You still need screen real-estate to do certain things, particularly to enjoy entertainment,” Kay adds. “The digital entertainment era is coming into its own. Ultimately, both audio and video entertainment are most conveniently enjoyed these days on some kind of computer platform.”

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