Gartner's crystal ball says consumers want more PCs

Market soothsayer Gartner foresees global shipments of personal computers to hit around the 376.6 million unit mark this year. Companies and consumers will reach into their wallets and hand over an estimated $245.4 billion to PC makers, an increase of 12 percent compared to last year.

Consumers especially are expected to spend their hard-earned money on new PCs. Demand from private households is seen to grow 29.5 percent this year, compared to a projected growth of 13.1 percent for the professional market.

Most of the growth will be driven by people and businesses having to upgrade their old, decaying specimens with new hardware able to run the latest incarnation of the many-tentacled, bloated OS from Redmond.

Sales of netbooks, called mini-notebooks by Gartner, are foreseen to slow down a bit due to consumer appetite for them slowly being satisfied, as after eating a stuffed turkey on Christmas. The mobile computing share of the little ones will experience a downfall to 13.9 percent by 2014. Nonetheless, netbooks will have a 18.6 percent share of all mobile PC shipments and 41.8 millon of the low-weight handbag devices will be sold this year, after makers managed to sell 32.1 million to punters around the globe in 2009.

As for media tablets, Gartner’s best case scenario sees 10 million of them shipping. Only two million tablet PCs will ship, by comparison. Media tablets will start cannibalising the netbook market from 2013 onward, when the iPad and its kin can match the functionality of netbooks – except if they are merely distribution platforms for pay-for content. Consumers however do not seem to be bothered by this, as long as brand recognition dulls lucidity.