Economic Outlook Dims Asian PC Forecast

IDC cut its growth forecast for Asian PC shipments, excluding Japan, on Monday, lowering its previous estimate of 7 percent growth to zero.

"The numbers have definitely come down given the way the recent quarter fell well short of expectations," said Bryan Ma, director of personal systems research at IDC Asia-Pacific.

During the last quarter of 2008, Asian PC shipments fall 5 percent compared to the previous year. That was the first decline in PC sales in a decade, and fell short of earlier estimates.

In unit terms, the latest IDC forecast calls for Asian PC shipments to total 74 million units during 2009, a decline of 10 percent from the previous estimate. IDC planned to notify clients of its revised forecasts late Monday.

The revised numbers show economic problems affecting PC demand in some Asian countries more than others, taking into account the expected impact of various stimulus packages that have been announced and other factors. For instance, Vietnam was previously expected to see PC shipments rise by 18 percent during 2009. The current forecast calls for growth of 1 percent, Ma said.

India is expected to see shipments contract by 6 percent, instead of a previous forecast of 3 percent growth. South Korean demand for PCs is also expected to slip, dropping by 3 percent this year, instead of the previous forecast of 2 percent growth.

While other markets will slip, Chinese demand for PCs is expected to increase this year, albeit at a slower pace, Ma said. The country will see PC shipments rise by 3 percent, instead of 9 percent, he said, adding that demand forecasts for Australia and Taiwan were largely unchanged.

"In Taiwan, the market there, as sluggish as it's been, is at least on track with forecasts," Ma said.

Looking ahead, IDC still forecasts a recovery of PC demand, beginning in 2010. The current estimate calls for a 13 percent increase in shipments during 2010, and a 21 percent increase in 2011.

However, those numbers could prove "too optimistic," depending on how the regional economy performs this year, Ma said.

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