Emerging markets are key to driving worldwide PC growth in both the short and long term, Gartner analysts said.
Worldwide PC shipments are
on pace to total 368 million units in 2012, a 4.4 percent increase from 2011,
according to the latest forecast by IT research firm Gartner. In the report, PC
shipments are forecast to see higher growth by the end of 2013, when shipments
are expected to reach more than 400 million units. While the economic
environment and supply issues played a key part in the weaker PC market,
Gartner noted it was a lesser concern to PC vendors, compared with the far
greater issue of changing consumer dynamics.
PC shipments will remain
weak in 2012, as the PC market plays catch-up in bringing a new level of
innovation that consumers want to see in devices they purchase, said Ranjit
Atwal, research director at Gartner. The real question is whether Windows 8
and Ultrabooks will create the compelling offering that gets the earlier
adopter of devices excited about PCs again.
Gartner analysts said that
2011 redefined the landscape of the device market, and the use of applications
such as email, social networking and Internet accesstraditionally the domain
of the PCare now being used across media tablets and smartphones, making these
devices in some cases more valued and attractive.
Consumers will now look at
a task that they have to perform, and they will determine which device will
allow them to perform such a task in the most effective, fun and convenient
way, Atwal said. The device has to meet the user needs, not the other way 'round.
The Gartner report said it expects Ultrabooks, high-performance notebooks
powered by Intel silicon, would garner greater attention in the latter half of
2012 as the industry looks for this platform to reinvigorate the mobile PC form
factor. However, PCs will face more competition as we see new media tablets
based on operating systems from Android and Microsoft, as well the new iPad,
He also said Gartner
researchers expect the shift to the personal cloud will accelerate as consumers
increasingly adopt cloud-based services as part of their digital ecosystem,
explaining the evolution of the personal cloud will challenge vendors across
all mobile devices markets. It may also add to the hurdles for PC vendors to
overcome in order to revive PCs and differentiate them from tablets. Atwal cautioned
the creation of content capabilities of PCs might not be enough to counteract
the better content consumption capabilities of media tablets.
Moreover, mature PC markets will
continue to be replacement-market driven and their volumes will be much less than
their emerging market counterparts. Emerging markets are key to driving
worldwide PC growth in both the short and long term, and our expectation is
that 2012 and then 2013 onward will be supported by growth in emerging markets
as their share increases from just over 50 percent in 2011 to nearly 70 percent
in 2016, said Atwal. Emerging markets have very low PC penetration, and even
with the availability of other devices, we still expect a steady uptake of PCs.