IHS predicts rare slump in PC shipments for 2012

Things aren't looking too good for the PC market this year. According to the latest report from market research firm IHS, fewer PCs will ship in 2012 than in 2011. That will mark the first time PC shipments declined from one year to the next since 2001—which, as IHS aptly points out, is when the dot-com bubble burst.

So, what's the damage going to be? PC shipments totaled 352.8 million units in 2011, but they'll reportedly drop to 348.7 million units in 2012, resulting in a 1.2% year-on-year slump. Just to put things in perspective, Gartner said back in January that shipments rose by a modest 0.5% in 2011.

This is still just a prediction, of course... but there are signs that it will come to pass. IHS analyst Craig Stice explains, "Now three quarters through the year, the usual boost from the back-to-school season appears to be a bust, and both AMD and Intel's third-quarter outlooks appear to be flat to down. Optimism has vanished and turned to doubt."

At least IHS isn't all doom and gloom. The firm expresses tentative optimism about next year, saying a "strong rebound could still occur in 2013" thanks to ultrabooks and Windows 8. That hasn't stopped IHS from lowering its shipment forecast for 2013, however.

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