The worldwide PC market saw a slight increase in volume during the first quarter of 2012 (1Q12) compared to the same quarter in 2011, with shipments rising 2.3%, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. The results are slightly above IDC's February projections of a 0.9% year-on-year decline due to hard disk drive (HDD) supply constraints in addition to weak economic conditions, competition from other devices, and uncertainty about Windows 8.
HDD supply remained a key constraint through most of the first quarter, although PC makers generally had better access to drives than customers in the retail and distribution channels. As a result, large PC vendors were able to maintain shipments by managing inventory or absorbing price increases, while the impact to shipments from smaller PC makers was in line with expectations.
"PC market growth remained limited in the first quarter as HDD supply and other factors limited demand," said Loren Loverde, IDC vice president of Worldwide Consumer Device Trackers. "Nevertheless, history has shown that periods of slower growth are followed by recovery as improving technologies make replacements as well as new purchases increasingly compelling. As a result, we expect PC shipments to pick up significantly by the fourth quarter and beyond as HDD supply and pricing are normalized, Windows 8 is launched, and replacements pick up.
"Slow growth in the U.S. shows that despite interesting and new form factors like all-in-one (AIO) desktop PCs and Ultrabook