The world PC market is set for its sharpest ever decline, according to Gartner.
The research firm said PC shipments will hit 257 million units in 2009, an 11.9 percent drop on 2008 and a four times greater fall than in 2001, the last major economic downturn.
"The PC industry is facing extraordinary conditions as the global economy continues to weaken, users stretch PC lifetimes and PC suppliers grow increasingly cautious," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner.
Tough economic conditions and a desire to extend PC lifecycles are not the only factor behind the decline in sales, according to Rob Lovell, CEO of ThinkGrid, a provider of hosted IT and telecoms on demand.
"Rather than having to go through the hassle of refreshing desktop hardware every two or three years, we are seeing businesses hanging onto their old PCs and using them to access hosted desktops (VDI) and a range of other on-demand IT services.
“With the credit crunch biting, organisations have found that they can't afford to make capital investments in PCs. Therefore they have turned to on-demand IT models, where services are provided on a subscription basis."
According to Gartner, mini laptops and netbooks represent the only bright spot for suppliers. While desktop PC shipments are predicted to drop by 31.9 percent to 101.4m, mobile PCs will grow by 9 percent, hitting 155.6m shipments.