By 2011, Notebooks Will Rule Computing

A new market research report from IDC forecasts that laptop and notebook computers will account for half off all PCs worldwide by the year 2011.

IDC forecasts that overall computer unit sales will continue to increase, with sales of desktop systems continuing to grow through at least 2011. However, laptop and notebook sales will grow faster, with a compound annual growth rate forecast at 16.1 percent, compared to just 3.8 percent growth for desktop systems over the same period.

“Slower growth in desktops and in relatively mature regions changes the market dynamics a bit,” said Loren Loverde, director of IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, in a statement. “Portables are picking up some of the slack from Desktops and will benefit from improved security, power management, and new designs supported by Vista. While more replacements and Vista adoption may provide a brief respite for desktops in 2008, essentially all desktop growth will occur in emerging regions.”

According to IDC, more than 82 million portable computers were shipped worldwide in 2006, compared to 140 million desktop systems. However, compared to 2005, the number of notebooks shipped increased by 26.3 percent, compared to a 2 percent growth in PC shipments.

In mature markets, notebook computers are already outselling traditional desktop PCs; research firm Current Analysis found that portable systems outsold desktop computers in the U.S. in 2005.

“In the United States, portable PC shipments will maintain double-digit growth through 2010, but this shift to mobility will not be enough to offset reduced demand for desktops,” said Doug Bell, analyst in IDC’s Personal Computing program. “The release of Vista and a desktop refresh will create some growth opportunity in late 2007 and early 2008, before resuming a declining growth trend in the out-years.”