Although PC shipments will be up over last year, growth will slow by the end of the year, research firm IDC reported today.
According to the research firm, total PC shipments, including desktops and portables, will hit 356.9 million this year, up 2.8 percent compared to 2010.
That gain is due to the strength of emerging markets around the world. This year, IDC expects desktop PC shipments to grow 5.2 percent, and portable PC shipments to jump 18.7 percent in emerging markets, such as Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. All told, shipments will rise 12.1 percent.
In mature markets, including the U.S. and Western Europe, total PC shipments will be down 7.2 percent to 154.7 million, compared to 2010 when 166.7 million PCs hit store shelves. IDC reported that desktop shipments in mature markets will be down 7.9 percent this year, while portables will decline by 6.8 percent.
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"While consumers have pulled back in part due to economic circumstances, consumer PCs have also suffered due to a relative lack of compelling offerings," IDC senior research analyst Jay Chou said in a statement outlining the PC market's troubles. "With the excitement of mini notebooks largely past, the PC industry has struggled to come up with compelling features to keep buyer interest, and has subsequently suffered some budget-competition from smartphones as well as media tablets, which sold more than 107 million and 13.5 million units, respectively in the second quarter of 2011."
IDC's latest estimates on worldwide PC shipments have been revised down over the last couple of months. In June, the company said that it believed worldwide PC shipments would grow by 4.2 percent. It also expected total PC shipments in mature markets to decline by just 3.7 percent.
IDC is somewhat more pessimistic about the PC industry than other research firms. Gartner, for example, announced last week that it believes worldwide PC sales will jump 3.8 percent this year, adding that the biggest trouble it sees for the PC market in the coming quarters is the economy.
"Western Europe is not only struggling through excess PC inventory, but economic upheaval as well," Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, said in a statement last week. "U.S. consumer PC shipments were much weaker than expected in the second quarter, and indications are that back-to-school PC sales are disappointing.
"An increasing pessimistic economic outlook is causing both consumer and business sentiment to deteriorate in both regions," Atwal continued. "We're expecting consumer spending to tighten in response. Business spending will also tighten, but less than the consumer space."
Forecasting the future
Although just about everyone is concerned about the PC market over the short-term, IDC sees good times ahead for the industry. The research firm reported today that it believes worldwide PC shipments will rise 9.3 percent next year, and level off at 11.2 percent in 2013. In 2014 and 2015, it expects the PC market to grow 11.1 percent each year.
All told, IDC believes 535.3 million PCs will ship in 2015, nearly 200 million more than IDC expects to hit store shelves this year.