Analysts have warned that PC sales for 2001 are likely to be far lower than feared, thanks to weak demand in the US and Japan.
IDC has chopped its forecast for total worldwide shipments for the year to 129.6 million units - 1.6 per cent less than the 131.7 million sold in 2000.
It said flagging consumer PC shipments in the US and Japan were a major factor in the adjustment.
Worldwide sales of consumer PCs are now tipped to fall 9.6 per cent to 44.1 million units, down from IDC's previous forecast of a 0.2 per cent decline.
Business PC sales are expected to grow 3.2 per cent to 85.5 million units (down from 10.5 per cent growth in 2000).
Sales in the US are expected to plummet 13 per cent - down from IDC's prediction (made in June) of a six per cent drop.
This will be the first year-on-year drop in worldwide PC sales in 16 years, and looks bleak compared to the 15.7 per cent growth experienced in 2000.
IDC said it was unlikely that the consumer PC market would improve much in the second half of this year, despite the imminent launch of Microsoft's latest operating system. Windows XP is not expected to hoist PC sales for at least another 12 months.
"For most consumers, a new PC is a very large discretionary purchase," said Roger Kay, IDC director of client computing.
"And that's for new users. When it comes to replacing a system that probably meets a user's basic needs, it's an extremely tough sell in these economic times." ®