Gartner: Global PC Shipments to See Lukewarm 4 Percent Uptick in 2012

Researcher projects weak PC shipments through 2012, as market shifts to tablets and smartphones.

Shipments of personal computer worldwide will grow at a tepid 4.4 percent in 2012, hampered by market dynamics favoring mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, consumer adoption of cloud-based services and a persistently unfavorable economic climate, according to data compiled by Gartner Inc.

Much of the expected growth of PC shipments in 2012 will come in the second half of the year, spurred by the launch of Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 8 and new ultrabooks hitting the market, the researcher said.

Gartner said that it expects demand from emerging markets will prompt stronger sales of PCs in 2013, with those markets accounting for up to 70 percent of all PC sales globally by 2016. By contrast, PCs shipped to saturated, mature markets primarily will be used to replace existing machines, and, as a result, account for fewer total units, Gartner said.

The researcher said that the strongest impediment to PC growth in 2012, more than still-sluggish economic conditions, is changing consumer preferences toward devices such as tablets and smartphones to access email, social networking applications and connect to the Internet.

“The use of applications such as e-mail, social networking and Internet access, traditionally the domain of the PC, are now being used across media tablets and smartphones, making these devices in some cases more valued and attractive propositions,” said Ranjit Atwal, Gartner research director.

Atwal said that consumers now examine the tasks they have to perform and select the device best suited to handle their needs.

“The device has to meet the user needs not the other way round,” he said.

Gartner said that new Android and Microsoft tablets may strip some expected growth PCs gain from Windows 8 and ultrabook sales. In addition, consumers adopting cloud-based services could further impede PC makers’ ability to differentiate their offerings from tablets, the researcher said.

“The creation of content capabilities of PCs may not be enough to counteract the better content consumption capabilities of media tablets,” Atwal said.

TAGS: PC,Gartner,forecast

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