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Slowdown virus attacks personal computer sales

San Francisco, Sept. 9: Citing growing fears of the effect of a prolonged economic malaise, the market research firm International Data Corp. is scaling back its forecast on global personal computer sales.

In a report, the firm’s researchers said they were lowering PC market forecasts for both 2002 and 2003 to reflect weakening demand among businesses and consumers.

Total worldwide PC shipments are now expected to reach only 135.5 million in 2002, an increase of 1.1 per cent, and to grow 8.4 per cent in 2003.

In June, International Data forecast growth of 4.7 per cent in 2002 and 11.1 per cent in 2003.

“On the consumer side in the United States, people are spending their disposable income on cars,” said Roger Kay, director of client computing at the firm. In the corporate market, the industry reached saturation several years ago, he said. As capital spending sags, new computers are easy to forgo.

Regionally, the forecasters reported that business demand for PCs improved in the United States during the second quarter but still remained low. Consumer purchases are expected to pick up in the second half of the year, but not as much as previously projected.

Western Europe was also proving to be a disappointment, suffering from slow spending by businesses and consumers in the second quarter of 2002.

The world’s only relatively bright spot appeared to be Asia, where in Japan, purchases were approaching expectations, although remaining weak.

Only China, Australia and India, where PC ownership is relatively low, are expected to generate double-digit growth this year, International Data reported.

“When the economy moves, the PC market moves with it,” Kay said. “Basically, Asia is the only bright spot, but it’s not bright enough.”

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