With the current state of the economy, predictions of of falling sales for the near future may hardly be surprising. The last time the PC industry experienced a decline it was back in 2002, when sales fell by 3.2%, but it looks as though the decline this year will be much larger if the predictions prove accurate. Gartner are currently predicting that PC sales will hit around 257 million for 2009, which would be a fall of 11.9% from last year. With both companies and the average consumer looking to save money, some PCs that may have been replaced with newer models in better times will likely have to prove adequate for now. Even growth in certain areas in the market (notably netbooks) can't make up for the shortfall in the industry as a whole.
While this may sound like more doom and gloom, it is expected that the semiconductor industry should be more resistant to the tough times than other sectors. With a different cost structure and the fact the industry was already aiming to cut back production, the chip business should be in a position to rebound faster. Apparently a recession actually encourages restructuring and innovation that wouldn't happen when things are ticking along quite nicely. That means that next-generation chips may actually come sooner than expected.