Gartner's estimate of 2012 PC shipment growth does not look encouraging. Recent data from the technology research firm revealed that PC shipments will grow just 4.4% this year to reach 368 million units. However, this compared favorably with 0.5% growth in 2011.
The demand for new PCs is adversely affected by the ever-increasing competition from tablets and smartphones. We believe that more innovation is required to stimulate the demand for new PCs.
Another reason for muted PC demand is that consumers are satisfied with their current models and are not ready to upgrade in the near future.
The research firm is also of the opinion that all the basic technical requirements are taken care of by a tablet, which enables services like email, social networking and Internet access. Moreover, these services are also available as apps on the smartphone. Add to this the benefits of cloud computing and it is no wonder that consumers are shifting away from the traditional concept of storage devices, which is essentially provided by the PCs.
On the flipside, Gartner also believes that there are certain factors that might influence consumer behavior in favor of new PCs in the latter half of 2012. These include the Windows 8 operating system that will likely make PCs more efficient. The implementation of this improved operating system has started already.
On the other hand, Ultrabooks are expected to grab the attention in the latter half of 2012, while PCs see increased competition from media tablets powered by operating systems like Google Inc's ( GOOG ) Android and Microsoft's ( MSFT ) Windows 8.
Again, there is a chance that most of the new products based on the Windows 8 operating system will not hit the market until the end of 2012, so PC makers will find it difficult to catch up in 2012.
As per the latest report by Gartner, Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) remains the fastest growing PC vendor in the US, while Lenovo Group Limited emerged as the fastest growing PC vendor outside the US. However, Hewlett-Packard Co ( HPQ ) still retained the top slot in the U.S. and worldwide PC markets.
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