PC sales to consumers are likely to come up short in the Christmas quarter because shoppers distracted by digital entertainment devices, says Gartner.

The research company had projected that worldwide PC shipments would grow 13 per cent in 2004 when compared to 2003, but the analysts are now suggesting 2004 growth will come at 11.4 per cent.

Gartner analyst George Shiffler told NewsFactor: "I think what you're seeing is that people are willing to hold on to their PCs while they add some digital entertainment devices.

"There is conspicuous lack of must-have new features for home PC users, and this is noticeably impacting home sales, especially replacement purchases."

He added: "If you look at who's offering entertainment devices, it's the PC manufacturers themselves."

Gartner predicts that about 187.2 million PCs should ship in 2004.