PC demand will pick up in 2003 and accelerate in 2004, fuelled in part by wireless and broadband networks, according to new market research published by IT research analyst IDC.

Worldwide shipments of computers based on PC architectures, such as desktops and notebooks, will increase by 8.3 per cent to 147.5 million units in 2003, and by 11 per cent to 163.8 million units in 2004, IDC said.

The market-research group expects PC shipments in 2002 to rise 1.6 per cent over the previous year to 136.2 million, a figure still 2.6 per cent below the market's peak of 139.9 million units in 2002.

IDC sees several market drivers, including the rising popularity of wireless and broadband networks, new computer designs and media convergence.

In 2003 and beyond, IDC expects business and consumer PC spending to rise, while government spending will slow due to reduced budgets.

In the US, shipments will increase three per cent to 47.4 million units in 2002, boosted in part by government security spending, according to IDC. They will rise 7.1 per cent to 50.8 million units in 2003, and 9.9 per cent to 55.8 million units in 2004.

Despite positive third-quarter growth, IDC expects total PC shipments in Western Europe to drop 0.5 per cent in 2002, but rise six per cent in 2003.