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Gartner announces increased third quarter forecast

(BW) -- Stronger-than-expected second-quarter results have led Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) (NYSE: ITB) to raise its forecast for third quarter PC shipments slightly, but the company remains cautious in its outlook for the PC market.

Worldwide PC shipments are forecast to reach 39.8 million units in the third quarter of 2003, a 9.6 percent increase over the third quarter of 2002. Gartner analysts project PC shipments to reach 161.3 million units in 2003, an 8.9 percent increase from 2002.

"A sustained PC market recovery requires a return to business IT spending, which, in turn, is dependant on a significant improvement in economic conditions," said George Shiffler, principal analyst for Gartner's computing platforms and economics research. "Despite some recent encouraging signs, economists are still guarded in their outlook for the second half of the year, so the prospects for a significant business PC recovery by year end remain questionable."

Gartner analysts said that the anticipated replacement cycle has been slower than expected. Selective replacements were apparent in the first half of 2003, but a now elongated general cycle will not be evident until early 2004. Gartner believes users are replacing PCs, albeit on somewhat delayed schedules, as machines reach the end of usable life.

"Within the PC industry, the mobile segment will continue as one of the major drivers of growth," said Kiyomi Yamada, industry analyst for Gartner's computing platforms worldwide group. "Notebook prices and performance improvements are expected to continue as whitebox notebooks become more widely available and Centrino products are priced to appeal to non-business markets."

Additional information is available in the Gartner Dataquest Perspective "3Q03 Update: Global PC Forecast Scenarios, 2002-2004." The report examines key drivers and inhibitors to the PC industry for the third quarter of 2003, as well as trends for the year. This research can be purchased on the Internet at www.gartner.com/DisplayDocument?id=406857&ref=g--search.

Gartner, Inc. is a research and advisory firm that helps more than 10,000 clients leverage technology to achieve business success.

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