Analyst house Gartner has issued a new prediction for worldwide PC growth in 2011, saying that consumers will cause growth to slow to 9.3 per cent.

Its previous prediction for this year was 10.5 per cent, but the downwards revision has come as consumers continue to tighten their financial belts.

It doesn't help that consumers are losing interest in teeny little netbooks and seem to be putting off purchases in order to see how the whole tablet thing pans out.

Notebook apathy

Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, explains, "Consumer mobile PCs are no longer driving growth, because of sharply declining consumer interest in mini-notebooks.

"Media tablets, such as the iPad, have also impacted mobile growth, but more because they have caused consumers to delay new mobile PC purchases rather than directly replacing aging mobile PCs with media tablets."

Gartner still maintains that tablets won't have much impact on the PC market, with Atwal adding, "We believe direct substitution of media tablets for mobile PCs will be minimal."

Looking up

It's not all bad news for PCs though, says Gartner. Business refresh cycles will keep the market ticking over, and the changing focus of the PC will also revive the consumer sector.

Mr Atwal concludes, "Moving forward, PCs will no longer be a market by themselves, but part of a larger device market that ranges from smart televisions to the most-basic-feature phones.

"Within this market, consumers and professionals will increasingly use the combination of devices that best suits their particular needs."