Two top research firms are cutting forecasts for 2009 personal computer sales, with them expecting 2009 to be the industry's toughest in at least seven years amid falling sales of high-end computers. IDC, for instance, has reduced its outlook for 2009 worldwide PC unit growth to just 3.8 percent compared to this year.

That's quite a drastic cut from the 13.7 percent growth initially projected, with the latest report particularly mentioning how the hardest hit areas will be the emerging PC markets of Latin America, Central Europe, the Middle East, and Africa due to falling commodity prices and the worldwide credit crunch. Likewise, just a few weeks ago iSuppli slashed its 2009 growth forecast for worldwide PC shipments by nearly two-thirds because of the deteriorating economy. The analyst firm is now projecting that shipments will rise by 4.3 percent in 2009, down from its previous forecast of 11.9 percent.

Despite the dreary picture the market researchers are painting, sales in general are still being driven by demand for laptops and the need to replace older systems, but there is a discrepancy between the growth in units sold and value of those PCs because prices are falling as consumers and businesses are willing to spend less for new PCs.