In the computer and business equipment market, unit sales may be growing, but products themselves are using less plastic resin.
``Desktops have slowed down tremendously, and portables are taking market from desktops,'' said Roger Kay, vice president of client computing with International Data Corp. of Framingham, Mass.
IDC forecasts global sales of 130.5 million desktop computers during 2005 vs. 122.7 million last year. For portable units, IDC expects to sell 58.2 million units vs. 48.7 million last year.
Desktop units themselves are getting smaller. Designers are creating computers with fewer components, integrated electronics, smaller chassis and desktop innards looking more like a notebook.
The result is growth in ``ultrasmall'' desktops, Kay said.
The trend means designers are bumping up against thermal issues. Current solutions include heat pipes, liquid cooling, heat sinks and dual cores.
Video game boxes are bucking the trend by retaining large forms, but ``only a few hundred thousand are sold each year,'' Kay said.
Analysts expected sales of flat-screen liquid-crystal-display monitors to surpass bulkier cathode ray terminals by the fourth quarter of 2004. But lower prices mean CRTs will persist in the market.
``While the flat-panel will move forward fast, the CRT market will still be around,'' said Jennifer Gallo, an IDC research analyst. ``Asia Pacific will hold the CRT market afloat.''
Multifunction peripherals, such as combination fax machine/printers, and color laser devices have potential compound annual growth rates of 16 percent and 9 percent, respectively, from 2003-08, according to IDC.
``Single-function devices represent a shrinking opportunity as the market is moving toward more multifunction solutions,'' said Daniel Corsetti, IDC analyst. The overall domestic peripherals market - including copiers, printers and multifunction devices - is expected to exceed 34 million units in 2005, compared with 32.3 million last year.
Shipments of color laser page printers continue to grow rapidly, said Peter Grant, research vice president for related office equipment with Gartner Inc. in San Jose, Calif.
Grant projected 2004 domestic shipment of 520,000 units, growing to more than 620,000 this year. Average selling prices: $2,254 last year and perhaps $2,094 in 2005.
Gartner forecasts domestic sales of monochromatic copiers will increase to 1.76 million units in 2005 from last year's 1.72 million.
``Copier vendors are pushing the multifunctionality of digital copiers,'' said Lynn Ritter, a Gartner analyst. ``Buy one device for scanning hard copy into your work flow and then use it for copying, printing and faxing needs. Users find that multifunction devices help save money by combining functions usually done by two or three machines.''
Sales of stand-alone, sheet-fed fax machines may decline to 2.8 million units in 2005 from 3.6 million last year, said David Haueter, a principal analyst with Gartner in Lowell, Mass. The traditional fax is being replaced by inkjet all-in-one units on the consumer side and by fax-enabled digital multifunction copiers/printers on the office side, Haueter said.
Some manufacturers will exit the sheet-fed fax market. ``At least one major manufacturer is in its last model line of fax machines and will concentrate solely on digital copiers and printers,'' Haueter said.