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 2001โ€”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.

Comments closed
    • link626
    • 7 years ago

    it’s amazing that people today are happy with tiny screens, low resolution, underpowered cpu’s that only excel at facebook and youtube.

    • Morris
    • 7 years ago

    You’d think there was an economic depression in the U.S., UK and Asia or something…

    • zzz
    • 7 years ago

    The fact of the matter is that people don’t feel a need to replace their computers with higher performing machines. I even know a person using a cellphone as their home computer (HTC One S, MHL to HDMI to a monitor with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse and an unlimited data plan).

    *I* couldn’t deal with that since I like the full capabilities of a PC, but I’m in the minority. Some people just want Google, Youtube and facebook, and a cellphone or tablet or 5 year old computer offers that. So I’m not surprised shipments are down.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 7 years ago

    I’m just twiddling my thumbs until there are Haswell and/or Jaguar tablets. Will those add or detract from their “PC” sales figures? This is all very silly.

      • Diplomacy42
      • 7 years ago

      Haswell, or more likely Broadwell which will be passively cooled at low voltages will probably change the term “PC” as we know it.

    • sschaem
    • 7 years ago

    Tablets area on their way to become full fledged PC, and the only differentiation between the ‘dead’ notebook and tablets will be a detachable keyboard.

    People are going to own more PC then ever. They might only upgrade a device once every 5 years,
    but now they have more device to upgrade.

    I find those report of RAM usage, PC shipped, etc.. blatant market perception manipulation.

    • xeridea
    • 7 years ago

    I would rather see a decline in PC shipments than to ever have to see another news article about Windows 8 or related product.

      • Diplomacy42
      • 7 years ago

      i hope you aren’t looking forward to the xbox 720 then…

    • DPete27
    • 7 years ago

    How about the fact that Intel and AMD didn’t have production of laptops featuring their new CPUs ramped up properly in time to see the back-to-school buying season. I helped my brother buy a new ultrabook 1 week before school started and the selection was dismal while prices were high (only the premium models were available)

      • Diplomacy42
      • 7 years ago

      “I helped my brother buy a new ultrabook”

      There’s your problem. Ultrabooks suck and will continue to suck until Broadwell at least. You should have told your brother to get a regular laptop.

        • Beelzebubba9
        • 7 years ago

        Why do ultrabooks suck? I have a Late 2010 MacBook Air and it’s the best computer I’ve ever owned.

          • Chrispy_
          • 7 years ago

          [quote<] I have a Late 2010 MacBook Air and it's most expensive piece of mediocre hardware I've ever owned[/quote<] FTFY!

    • jdaven
    • 7 years ago

    “The firm expresses tentative optimism about next year, saying a “strong rebound could still occur in 2013″ thanks to ultrabooks and Windows 8.”

    Oh man, if the market is relying on ultrabooks and Windows 8 to save them, then God help us all.

    How about high resolution and high DPI monitors to usher in the next gen games and justify expensive video cards?

    How about cheaper SSD prices for higher capacity drives to remove the last major PC bottleneck?

    How about faster internet access without corporate shenanigans to promote better internet services and computer use?

    About how about better competition in the CPU space for God’s sake? How about it AMD?

    • esterhasz
    • 7 years ago

    What used to drive a lot of PC sales was the feeling that your machine was no longer powerful enough to handle new software coming out. Stuff like the Adobe Creative Suite, but also operating systems used to require more RAM, HD space, CPU power, etc. every cycle.

    But software companies have invested a lot of time and energy into making programs faster and more efficient – this goes for operating systems, but also for the quintessential program of our time, the browser. Just think about the JavaScript engine optimizations over the last years.

    The irony is that if you bought a PC in 2007 with Vista on it and a C2D inside, not only does it still handle nearly everything your throw at it just fine, but if you put Windows 8 and a current browser on it, it will actually feel *faster* than it did when you bought it.

    Creative Suite and other pro stuff still sucks up cycles like there is no tomorrow, but I feel that there is a fundamental decoupling happening between a communication/office/consumer and a performance/prosumer market that goes beyond the traditional PC/workstation divide. We’ll see whether the former gets gobbled up by tablets.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 7 years ago

      If only MS would apply the same idea to office.

        • esterhasz
        • 7 years ago

        If you want to speed up Office – at least subjectively – try Office for Mac. It’s… …slow…

      • Wirko
      • 7 years ago

      <troll time=”late at night”>
      In the pre-wideband era, hardware makers had to keep up with new, more and more demanding software. They barely did.
      Today, hardware and software makers alike, and ISPs too, have to keep up with new, more and more demanding websites. They barely do.

      And here’s the irony: computers still aren’t fast. Yes, they are fast In terms of GFLOPS and SunSpider results. But not in terms of pressing a key and getting the response fast.
      </troll>

        • Diplomacy42
        • 7 years ago

        ISPs don’t have to do anything as most markets have only one ISP. Docsis 3.0 came out how long ago? Not only are we just getting it, but its still considered a “premium service” when you do get it. ISPs are charging monopoly prices for monopoly services and lobbying to cut our rights by calling net neutrality “an attack on free speech.”

        Congress needs to take a stand. Corporations are not people. They don’t have rights. They don’t have free speech. They can’t hold religious or moral beliefs. They can’t hold office. They can’t be sentenced to 36 months in jail for insurance fraud, and so on…

    • WhatMeWorry
    • 7 years ago

    Call me old fashion, but can you “predict” a slump in 2012 PC shipments when it’s already Oct. 2012?

    Shouldn’t this prediction have been predicted in…oh, I don’t know…2010 or 2011?

      • superjawes
      • 7 years ago

      You have *most* of the data in, but the last three months will include holiday sales, which could be the largest chunk of the year’s sales. A major swing either way could change the final picture.

    • superjawes
    • 7 years ago

    …people are surprised?

    You used to need a “PC” to browse the internet, check Facebook, etc., but now you can get all of that on a tablet or smarthpone, which can also serve the function of other devices like cameras, MP3 players, and…phones…

    Gaming PCs will be fine, and there is still hardware to look forward to, but the “casual” PC user just doesn’t need a box (or laptop) anymore.

      • ludi
      • 7 years ago

      In other news, buggy whip sales are down, but gasoline sales are up. Go figure.

        • superjawes
        • 7 years ago

        Considering gas prices, that’s probably reversed…

    • mcnabney
    • 7 years ago

    Maybe it is because a 4 year old machine still plays every game at high detail, encodes video lickety-split, and doesn’t even mind running a VM or two?

    I think the lesson that is going to be learned is that hardware suppliers need to make even dodgier and less reliable hardware that will fail in a couple years. Getting software makers to increase detail (which will require newer hardware) isn’t going to happen since that costs money and none of it will translate over to the large console market.

    • deinabog
    • 7 years ago

    If PC sales drop off it will because people already have powerful machines running Windows 7 and they don’t need anything else. I don’t see this as doom and gloom for PCs as whole though; in fact I just gave the economy a boost by upgrading both my boxes to Core i7 processors with Z77-powered motherboards to boot (and 4 terabyte hard drives).

    • HolyAngel
    • 7 years ago

    Perhaps it’s because any pc that could play any game 2 years ago at Max settings, can still play any game out now.. Blame the consoles for ruining the potential pc games have of using all available hardware..

      • Farting Bob
      • 7 years ago

      High end gaming PC’s make up a really small percentage of all PC sales. To attribute a slump to that is ignoring the huge influence that tablets and smartphones have had.

    • vaultboy101
    • 7 years ago

    I am starting to feel that the PC (specifically the gaming PC) is in major decline. I hope I am proved wrong.

    It upsets me to say this as I have a multiscreen gaming rig but I just don’t see a major future for our niche platform. ๐Ÿ™

    • sweatshopking
    • 7 years ago

    THESE GUYS DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT, AND IMMA LET YOU FINISH, BUT WINDOWS 8 IS THE BEST OS EVER, AND IT’S GOING TO SELL ALL THE COMPUTERS.

      • raddude9
      • 7 years ago

      Best OS ever?
      I’m not so sure, it doesn’t even allow it’s users to type in lower case!

        • Jigar
        • 7 years ago

        He feels so alone, he is shouting for attention. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Metonymy
      • 7 years ago

      Yup, and I hear it increases the size of some of one’s organs… like the mouth.

      • vaultboy101
      • 7 years ago

      I agree with you ssk. I am liking Windows 8 a lot.

      I think it must be a grower though as I initially thought it sucked it when I first used it!

        • wierdo
        • 7 years ago

        Stockholm syndrome :p

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