Worldwide PC sales growth is estimated to be 352 million units this year, just 3.8% increase from 2010 and much lower than the earlier projection, according to IT research and advisory firm Gartner Inc.
PC shipments by the end of 2012 are expected to reach 404 million units, 10.9% increase from 2011, Gartner said in a statement on its latest preliminary forecast.
PC sales growth for both 2011 and 2012 has been reduced from earlier projections, which were 9.3% for 2011 and 12.8% growth for 2012.
The lower outlook is largely due to sharply downgraded forecasts for the Western Europe and the US in the second half of the year, Gartner said.
The lower outlook for 2012 is the result of weak 2011, and also a slower start seen for 2012. It said better growth is expected in the second half of next year as economies stabilise and new mobile PC form factors enter the market.
Even so, the slowdown in the market is notable: Total unit shipments in 2012 are expected to barely reach 400 million units, which was originally a target for 2011.
"Western Europe is not only struggling through excess PC inventory, but economic upheaval as well," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.
"US consumer PC shipments were much weaker than expected in the second quarter, and indications are that back-to-school PC sales are disappointing. An increasing pessimistic economic outlook is causing both consumer and business sentiment to deteriorate in both regions," he said.