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PC sales to grow 4.4% in 2012

The day after Apple hailed the advent of the "post-PC era" in launching the new iPad, Gartner forecasts the PC market will grow 4.4% in 2012

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The day after Apple hailed the advent of the "post-PC era" in launching the new iPad, analyst Gartner has unveiled forecasts that suggest the PC market will continue to grow by 4.4% in 2012.

The analyst predicts 368 million PCs will be shipped this year, rising further to 400 million in 2013.

Gartner research director Ranjit Atwal said that emerging markets are driving growth in PC sales.

"Our expectation is that 2012 and then 2013 onwards will be supported by growth in emerging markets as their share increases from just over 50% in 2011 to nearly 70% in 2016,” he said.

“Emerging markets have very low PC penetration and, even with the availability of other devices, we still expect a steady uptake of PCs.”

Atwal said users now have much greater choice of what device they use for what function. This will mean traditional PC suppliers will need to demonstrate the role PCs can play in a changing market.

“The use of applications such as e-mail, social networking and internet access, that were traditionally the domain of the PC, are now being used across media tablets and smartphones, making these devices in some cases more valued and attractive propositions,” Atwal said.

“Consumers will now look at a task they have to perform and they will determine which device will allow them to perform such a task in the most effective, fun and convenient way. The device has to meet the user needs, not the other way round.”

Apple sold 15 million iPads in the last quarter of 2011, compared to Gartner's estimate of 92 million PCs shipped in the same period.

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