updated 3/3/2011 6:10:50 PM ET 2011-03-03T23:10:50

Market research firm Gartner Inc. has reduced its PC shipment forecast for this year and next, predicting the growing popularity of tablet computers such as Apple Inc.'s iPad will cut into the demand for consumer laptops.

Gartner said Thursday that it expects global PC shipments of 387.8 million in 2011, up 10.5 percent from 2010. Previously, Gartner predicted 15.9 percent growth.

In 2012, Gartner now thinks 440.6 million PCs will be shipped, up 13.6 percent from 2011. Its earlier estimate called for 14.8 percent growth.

Gartner said that while consumer laptop shipments have climbed an average of 40 percent annually in the past five years, the availability of Internet access on various mobile devices means that consumers are not as tied to laptops for getting on the Web.

"We expect growing consumer enthusiasm for mobile PC alternatives, such as the iPad and other media tablets, to dramatically slow home mobile PC sales, especially in mature markets," Gartner research director George Shiffler said in a statement.

Consumers also seem to be waiting on buying PCs since a number of new tablets are set to be rolled out this year, Gartner said.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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