IT research firm Gartner on Monday raised its 2009 outlook for personal computer shipments, but reiterated that Windows 7 won't impact PC sales in holiday season till 2010.

Gartner expects 2009 PC shipments will total 298.9 million, a 2.8 percent increase from 2008.  The forecast is more optimistic than Gartner's final September forecast, which anticipated a 2 percent decline in shipments for 2009.

Shipments in the third quarter of 2009 were much stronger than we expected, and that alone virtually guaranteed we would see positive growth this year, said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner.

Despite the optimistic outlook for PC sales in 2009, Gartner analysts reiterated that Windows 7 will have a limited impact on holiday PC sales but noted that 2010 PC shipments could be affected.

 We just don't see consumers buying new PCs solely because of Windows 7, said Shiffler. We are expecting a modest bump in fourth-quarter consumer demand as vendors promote new Windows 7-based PCs, but the attraction will be the new PCs, not Windows 7.

No business is seen mainstreaming Windows 7 much before the end of 2010, according to Shiffler. He forecasted that many businesses will try to shift replacements to the back end of next year to sync their adoption of Windows 7 with their PC refresh, which will put a damper on early 2010 shipments.

While PC shipments are now expected to increase in 2009, the market value of PC shipments is still projected to decline by 10.7 percent to $217 billion, Gartner warned.  The market value of PC shipment is expected to reach $222.9 billion in 2010, a 2.6 percent increase over 2009.

The rapid decline in PC ASPs reflects a marked shift towards lower price points as customers have looked for 'good enough' PCs at the cheapest price, and vendors have tried to spur market growth by catering to ever-lower price points, Shiffler said in the statement.

We expect PC ASP declines to slow as the market recovers, but given the market's competitive dynamic, we don't see PC ASPs rising any time soon, he continued.