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PC market stumbles on HDD shortage, says IDC

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 92.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 (4Q11), down 0.2 percent compared to the same quarter in 2010, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.

The 4Q11 results reflected a year-on-year decline of 0.2 percent for the quarter and growth of 1.6 percent for the full year. This was in-line with IDC projections of a 0.6 percent decline for the fourth quarter and 1.5 percent growth for all of 2011.

As expected, shortages of hard disk drives (HDDs) added to challenges from slow economic conditions and competition from other consumer electronics, including media tablets, eReaders and mobile phones.  But despite the supply chain constraints wrought by the flooding in Thailand, most regions slightly exceeded forecast, and most Tier 1 PC vendors had access to sufficient HDD supply, though smaller PC vendors and retail channels experienced drive shortages.

"Europe and Asia-Pacfic came in a little stronger than expected, reflecting improvement in key markets and the strength of underlying demand in emerging regions," said Loren Loverde, vice president, Worldwide Consumer Device Trackers at IDC. "However, the industry still needs to work through some key hurdles in 2012, including recovery of HDD supply, the launch of Windows 8, and successful evolution of PC design to become still more mobile. Despite the challenges, the industry appears to be on the right path, and will be poised for substantial double-digit growth after working through these issues in 2012."

IDC expects the market to slow further in the first quarter of 2012 as the full impact of the HDD shortage is felt, and then recover to greater than 15 percent growth in the fourth quarter. Annual 2012 shipments are currently projected at 371 million, an increase of 5.4 percent, followed by growth in high teens during the first half of 2013 and annual growth over 11 percent.

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