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IDC: Trying to flog PCs? It's not going to happen

Box counter slashes sales forecasts... Windows 8 not following the script

Market analyst IDC now expects fewer PCs will be sold in 2012 than it had earlier predicted. The box-counter has also revised down its estimate for PC sales over the next four years.

The world-wide PC market for desktops and portables will grow just 0.9 per cent during 2012, 367 million units, as mid-year shipments slow down, the number cruncher has said. IDC tracks tablets separately.

That’s a major drop: IDC in June anticipated 5 per cent growth for 2012.

Shipments between 2013 to 2016 will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.1 per cent, down from the forecast 8.4 per cent for 2012 – 2016, the IDC said.

The analyst cited slowing growth in Asia/Pacific and saturation in mature markets such as the US – combined with cautious spending thanks to the economic slowdown – as the reasons behind its revised outlook.

Even the normally lucrative back-to-school shopping season looks like it will be providing little relief for PC makers. David Daoud, IDC's personal computing research director, said in a statement: “The third-quarter back to school season is also proving to be a challenging period, despite prices dropping to their lowest levels.”

Consumers and businesses are holding out on hardware renewals, with Windows 8 the great unknown. Following the pattern of past release cycles, channel companies are clearing their books of Windows-7 based stock. But the new Windows 8 UI could help rob suppliers of the usual post-Windows-launch sales spike as consumers struggle with the new interface.

Daoud said: "Factors such as Windows 8 coupled with Ultrabooks could present a positive turn of events next year, but it also faces some initial hurdles – chief of which is that buyers must acclimate themselves to an operating system that is a dramatic departure from existing PC paradigms.” ®

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