The flooding in Thailand, which is causing shortages in HDD supplies, will mean 3.8 million fewer PCs shipping in the first-quarter 2012, IHS iSuppli analysts say.
The shortage of hard disk drives caused
by the recent flooding in Thailand will limit the number of PCs
that will ship in the first quarter of 2012, according to market research firm
IHS iSuppli analysts are cutting their
first-quarter PC forecast by 3.8 million units-to 84.2 million-and reducing
their full-year growth numbers for 2012, saying worldwide PC shipments for the
entire year will rise 6.8 percent over 2011, down from the 9.5 percent growth
the firm forecasted in August.
Getting hit the hardest will be
notebooks, which are the systems most impacted by the HDD shortages, the IHS
iSuppli analysts said in a report Dec. 8. They are now predicting that notebook
shipments will grow 10.1 percent year-over-year in the first-quarter 2012, down
from the 13.8 percent they initially forecasted.
"The PC supply chain says it
has sufficient HDD inventory for the fourth quarter of
2011," Matthew Wilkins, senior principal analyst of compute platforms for IHS
iSuppli, said in a statement. "However, those stockpiles will run out
in the first quarter of 2012, impacting PC production during that period."
The monsoon season hit Thailand early
and hard this year, causing flooding that started in October and lasted weeks.
The floods impacted the HDD industry the hardest-Thailand assembles about 70
percent of the world's hard disk drives.
The HDD shortage is not the only
challenge facing the PC industry, IHS iSuppli analysts said. Continued
weakening in demand for PCs-thanks in part to the rise in popularity of
tablets-and the difficult global economic situation also are contributing.
However, the flooding is having a particularly strong impact. Total unit PC
shipments in 2012 are now expected to be 376 million, down from the firm's
previous forecast of 399 million.
The analysts expect the HDD supply
issues to improve in the first quarter, with major suppliers already moving
production to locations outside of Thailand. However, shortfalls will continue,
with supply not beginning to meet demand until the end of the third quarter in
2012, they said. Meanwhile, PC shipments should rebound in the second half of
the year, though not enough to keep the analysts from reducing their yearlong
However, when the HDD supplies do
rebound, they will swing back hard, the IHS iSuppli analysts said. Once the
Thailand production facilities get back up to full speed, the output from those
combined with the supplies from the facilities outside of the country could
result in an excess of supply, they said.