PC sales will probably be lower than expected based on seasonal trends through the end of the year, but unit shipment trends are definitely getting better, writes Morgan Stanley analyst Katherine Huberty in a research note Wednesday morning.
Huberty believes the first half of the year was boosted by inventory restocking, while the second half is already showing signs of a decline in restocking, buyers holding off on PC purchases before the release of Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows 7 (due October 22), and the uncertainty of a rebound in Europe’s economy and the rebound in corporate IT spending generally.
Huberty’s estimate for unit shipment growth for the second quarter just ended goes to 1% PC growth, quarter over quarter, versus the normal seasonal performance of flat or down slightly. Conversely, the current quarter will see sales growth of just 6%, estimates Huberty, versus the historical 10% to 12% increase. For the year, Huberty raises her forecast to a decline of 6%, up from a prior estimate of down 11%.
2010 will be the real payoff, and her estimate for growth that year goes from 2% to 9%, while she sees a return to revenue growth in 2011.
Huberty offers a few specific thoughts on vendors, writing that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has the biggest upside potential “in light of healthy retail inventory levels, and recent signs of improving commercial and retail Mac sales.” Huberty raised her Q2 unit shipments for the Mac from 2.4 million units to 2.5 million.
Apple shares Wednesday are up $1.50, or 1%, to $143.96,Dell
(NASDAQ:DELL) shares are down 13 cents, or 1%, at $13.59,