IDC Lowers PC Outlook As Shipments Decline In Second Quarter Ahead Of Fall Product Updates

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., August 23, 2012 – The worldwide PC market is now expected to grow just 0.9% in 2012, as mid-year shipments slow. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, 367 million PCs will ship into the market this year, up just a fraction of a percent from 2011 and marking the second consecutive year of growth below 2%.

Slowing growth in Asia/Pacific has reduced the impact of emerging market growth, while more mature regions like the United States have seen volume decline. Consumers have been hit by weak economic conditions, but are also waiting to see what Windows 8 and Ultrabook products will look like while considering spending on other products like media tablets and smartphones. Product updates later this year should revive PC growth, but it will be a more pronounced competitive environment and there is likely to be some confusion among buyers about new product features as well as where they will get the most for their money.

The uncertainty about product updates should be largely addressed by the end of this year and may be accompanied by a modest improvement on the economic front. Still, consumers and businesses alike are expected to be cautious with spending and when deciding to replace older products. This will put a damper on medium- and long-term growth prospects, both of which were lowered slightly in the medium- and long-range forecast. IDC now expects worldwide PC shipment growth will average 7.1% from 2013-2016, down from the 8.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) previously forecast for 2012-2016.

"The U.S. market will remain depressed until Windows 8 products hit the shelves in the fourth quarter of 2012. The industry is responding by reducing shipments of PCs and clearing Windows 7-based inventories to pave the way for a new generation of systems. But, as we move into the tail end of the third quarter, PC activity will continue to slow as demand drops. The third-quarter back to school season is also proving to be a challenging period, despite prices dropping to their lowest levels. We expect the year will end with shipments in the U.S. falling by 3.7%, marking the second consecutive year of contraction,” said David Daoud, research director, Personal Computing at IDC.

"IDC remains optimistic that PC penetration opportunities in emerging markets will form the bulwark of the market and help sustain double-digit Portable PC growth in the long run. However, a host of all-too-familiar variables will lead to a subdued second half of the year with only consumer notebooks remaining in growth mode for all of 2012," said Jay Chou, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. "Factors such as Windows 8 coupled with Ultrabooks could present a positive turn of events next year, but it also faces some initial hurdles; chief of which is that buyers must acclimate themselves to an operating system that is a dramatic departure from existing PC paradigms. The PC ecosystem faces some work to properly educate the market."

IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker gathers PC market data in 80 countries by vendor, form factor, brand, processor brand and speed, sales channel and user segment. The research includes historical and forecast trend analysis as well as price band and installed base data. For more information, or to subscribe to the research, please contact Kathy Nagamine at 650-350-6423 or knagamine@idc.com.

About IDC

IDC is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. For more than 48 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting www.idc.com.