PC market refuses to die, rises again in Q1 2012

pc market

Market research firm IDC has released its quarterly figures for computer sales in the first part of 2012. It's surprised some pundits by claiming that far from the traditional PC era being over, worldwide shipments are up. They're even showing growth in debt-saddled, austerity shackled and market saturated Europe, of all places.

In a release accompanying the info, the firm describes buyers as 'still cautious' and possibly waiting on Windows 8, but highlights problems in the hard drive supply chain following flooding in Thailand as the most significant factor holding back purchases. Despite these problems, it says that while it was predicting just 0.9% growth worldwide the actual market expanded by 2.3%

That means a further 87 million PCs were created in the first three months of the year than existed previously, up on 85 million in the same period for 2011. The figures include sales of Apple Macs, but not tablets of any OS or flavour. Apple was the third largest vendor in the US, although outside the top five worldwide.

The most impressive performance was by Chinese manufacturer Lenovo, which increased the number of PCs it sold by 43.7% globally to nearly four million a month. ASUS also fared well, putting out 22% more machines than previously taking its total to more than five million (presumably laptops) for the period.

The salient point is that while computer use is changing rapidly, spurred on by adoption of mobile platforms, it's not necessarily the PC that's suffering. In fact, tie this story in with last month's news that 2011 was a boom year for sales of PC games , then set it against the declining revenues from console software and you've got a fairly convincing PC renaissance story.

Of course, it could also just be an errant blip against underlying trends, there's no getting away from the fact that PC sales were generally down last year in most developed markets.

I apologise for the headline, by the way. For the first ten years of my journalistic career I absolutely refused to talk about 'Qs' when I meant something to do with months of the year. At some point I gave up fighting the good fight against the hateful expression. Sorry.