The rush to replace old PCs is going to drive strong sales in the global PC market for 2004, according to the latest preliminary second-quarter figures from Gartner.
The market watcher claimed more than 100 million PCs will be replaced this year, boosting worldwide unit shipments to 186.4 million, a 13.6 per cent jump from 2003. The company also forecast that 120 million PCs will be replaced in 2005.
The combined total of PCs replaced will surpass the number of systems replaced in 1998 and 1999, in the run-up to the year 2000, the research firm claimed.
Until the latter half of 2003, the PC market had been limping along as businesses repeatedly postponed upgrading their old PCs because of the economic downturn.
Now, thanks to new versions of Windows and support contracts running out on old operating systems, businesses are having no choice but to scrap their old PCs.
"Our Q1 results suggest the year 2000 replacement cycle that vendors have been anticipating for more than a year is under way," said George Shiffler, principal analyst for client platform research at Gartner.
"More than 30 per cent of installed PCs are now at least three years old. Many are using older Windows operating systems that are no longer supported or are about to lose full technical support. Expiring support will play a significant role in driving PC replacements in the future."
John Turner, business manager at Midwich, said: "There is some truth in the claim that the PC replacement cycle is boosting sales. The first three months of 2004 were very busy, but it's been much quieter in April and May. Typically these are shorter trading months, thanks to bank holidays.
June will be a big month, though. We are experiencing record notebook sales this year, which indicates some companies are replacing those old desktops with notebooks."
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