Emily Tan
Aug 24, 2012

Worldwide PC market flatlines as APAC growth slows and consumers opt for tablets: IDC

GLOBAL – The worldwide PC market is forecast to grow just 0.9 per cent in 2012 based on slowing mid-year shipments, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker report.

Worldwide PC market flatlines as APAC growth slows and consumers opt for tablets: IDC

The tech analyst firm predicts that 367 million computers and portable computers will ship this year, marking the second consecutive year of growth below 2 per cent.

IDC’s worldwide PC Tracker classifies desktops, notebooks and netbooks as personal computers (PCs) and does not include media tablets in its report.

According to the report, slowing growth in Asia-Pacific has reduced PC market shipments, and more mature regions like the United States are buying fewer PCs than before. Consumers may also be waiting to buy Windows 8 and Ultrabook products, or opting instead for media tablets and smartphones.

In June, IDC predicted that tablet sales would surge nearly 60 per cent from 68.7 million units in 2011 to 107.4 million units in 2012. The research firm expects sales of 142.8 million tablets next year and by 2016, worldwide shipments should reach 222.1 million units.

Nevertheless, IDC is optimistic that there is still room for PC penetration in emerging markets, which will form the “bulwark of the market and help sustain double-digit Portable PC growth in the long run,” said senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, Jay Chou.

Although Windows 8 and Ultrabooks could still produce a surge in PC sales in the second half of the year, these devices face some “initial hurdles” such as acclimation to a new operating system, commented Chou. “The PC ecosystem faces some work to properly educate the market."

Overall, IDC now expects worldwide PC shipment growth will average 7.1 per cent from 2013-2016, down from the 8.4 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) previously forecast for 2012-2016.

Between PC manufacturers, Lenovo looks geared to steal the top spot from HP this year. In July, HP still retained its title as the world’s largest PC manufacturer, but sales declined 12.3 per cent year-on-year, and Lenovo leapt 25.2 per cent to close the gap between itself and HP to less than 1 million units.

PC growth remains healthiest in Asia-Pacific, where IDC expects 19.2 per cent growth for portable PCs and 3.1 per cent for desktops this year—versus negative growth in mature markets. In Asia, Lenovo already dominates as the top choice with 25.1 per cent market share in Q2 2012. HP trails in fourth place with just 8.2 per cent market share after Acer (11 per cent) and Dell (8.5 per cent).

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