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PC shipments expected to drop after 11 years of plenty

Posted: 12 Oct 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:PC market? ultrabook? Intel? AMD? Windows 8?

According to the latest forecast from IHS, the global PC shipments are set to decline this year for the first time in 11 years. The total PC market in 2012 is expected to contract by 1.2 per cent to 348.7 million units, down from 352.8 million last year.

"There was great hope through 1H12 would prove to be a rebound year for the PC market," said Craig Stice, senior principal analyst for computer systems at IHS. "Now three quarters through the year, the usual boost from the back-to-school season appears to be a bust, and both AMD and Intel's Q3 outlooks appear to be flat to down. Optimism has vanished and turned to doubt, and the industry is now training its sights on 2013 to deliver the hoped-for rebound. All this is setting the PC market up for its first annual decline since the dot-com bust year of 2001."

The year started off with major hope for Intel's ultrabooks at the annual Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas. New and innovative form factors such as convertibles, combined with the first appearance of Windows 8 demos on display, provided a fresh wave of enthusiasm for the possibility of a revitalized PC market. Even when Q1 PC shipments came in, the less-than-stellar results were thought to be a minor setback.

The high expectations continued midyear during the big PC event at Computex in Taiwan, as Intel plugged its latest Ivy Bridge processor. Shipments during Q2, however, once again disappointed.

There are signs that a strong rebound could still occur in 2013. While IHS has reduced its forecast for them, new ultrabooks and other ultrathin notebook computers remain viable products with the potential to redraw the PC landscape, and the addition of Windows 8 to the mix could prove potent and irresistible to consumers. Whether a newly configured PC space could then stand up to the powerful smartphone and tablet markets, however, remains to be seen.





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