May 26, 2010 / 5:05 PM / in 7 years

Gartner raises 2010 PC forecast to 22 pct growth

* Previous forecast was for 20 percent growth

* Cites consumer demand, replacement of business PCs

* Sees consumer PC growth outpacing business growth

* Sees some 10 mln tablets selling this year

NEW YORK/BOSTON, May 26 (Reuters) - Industry tracker Gartner expects global PC shipments to rise 22 percent this year, up from its March forecast of 20 percent, driven by strong consumer demand and companies replacing aging computers.

Gartner also forecast that electronics makers will sell some 10 million media tablets this year as consumers embrace these devices, which include Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) popular iPad and Dell Inc’s DELL.O soon-to-be-released Streak.

The forecast for PCs reflects improving sales in the early months of the year from the top companies, including Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), Intel Inc (INTC.O), Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N), Acer Inc (2353.TW), Dell, Lenovo Group Ltd (0992.HK), Apple and Advanced Micro Devices Inc AMD.N. One of the biggest problems is coping with component shortages from suppliers, who cut back on production during the recession.

Worldwide PC shipments were seen at 376.6 million units in 2010, according to Gartner, compared with its March forecast of 366.1 million and last year’s 308.3 million units. Global PC spending is forecast to increase 12 percent to $245.4 billion in 2010. Those figures do not include media tablets.

“Consumers are now viewing PCs as necessities rather than luxury items,” Ranjit Atwal, principal research analyst at Gartner, said in a statement on Wednesday. “In the downturn, PCs remained the electronic device of choice on which to spend household income in mature markets and we do not expect this to change either in 2010 or beyond.”

Gartner forecast PC shipments for the home market would increase 29.5 percent this year, outpacing the 13.1 percent rise forecast for the professional market. Atwal said Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 7, is boosting demand from the business market, with larger companies expected to start making replacements in the second half of 2010 and the rest in 2011 and 2012.

The research company forecast mini-notebook sales will grow at a rapid clip this year, rising 30 percent, but added growth will slow as tablets such as the iPad become more popular.

Gartner estimates mini notebooks will account for 13.9 percent of the laptop market in 2014, down from an estimated 18.6 percent in 2010.

“Some consumers purchased mini-notebooks based solely on price. Many consumers are now choosing purchases up the price curve rather than at the bottom of it,” Gartner analyst Raphael Vasquez said in a statement.

While tablets such as the iPad will not hurt mini-notebook sales this year, Vasquez expects the new devices to significantly hit mini-notebooks starting in 2013. He expects tablet prices to fall below those of mini-notebooks, while functionality becomes comparable. (Reporting by Tiffany Wu and Jim Finkle; editing by Andre Grenon)

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