IDC downgrades PC forecast

The researcher reported that global shipments will grow less than 2 percent for the second straight year

By James Carbone

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Despite slow growth in 2012, PC unit shipments will rise steadily through 2016.
Worldwide PC shipments will increase just 0.9 percent in 2012 to 367 million units, due in part to weak economic conditions, according to an updated forecast by researcher International Data Corporation (IDC).

Slowing growth in the Asia Pacific region has reduced the impact of emerging market growth and the weak global economy has slowed growth in the consumer PC segment. As a result, IDC downgraded its previous PC forecast. It had earlier predicted PC shipments would rise 5 percent in 2012 to 382.6 million units.

Many consumers are awaiting the release of new Windows 8 and ultrabook products which will ship later in the year. Those product updates should revive PC growth.

"The U.S. market will remain depressed until Windows 8 products hit the shelves in the fourth quarter of 2012,” said David Daoud, research director, personal computing for IDC. “The industry is clearing Windows 7-based inventories to pave the way for a new generation of systems.”

However, Daoud noted that in the U.S., PC shipments will decline 3.7 percent in 2012 despite the release of Windows 8 and ultrabook computers.

Longer-term, worldwide PC shipments will increase, but at a slower rate than originally forecast. Consumers and businesses will be cautious with spending and with replacing older products, according to IDC. This will put a damper on medium- and long-term growth prospects.

IDC expects worldwide PC shipment growth to have a 7.1 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2013-2016, down from the 8.4 percent CAGR previously forecast for 2012-2016. PC shipments will rise from 367 million in 2012 to 483 million in 2016.

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