The market firm estimates that the industry will ship 3.8 million fewer PC than previously predicted as hard drives just are not as easy to come by. As a result, IHS now believes that the PC industry will not grow by 9.5 percent, but only by about 6.8 percent, which equates to 84.2 million units. PC shipments typically drop by about 6 percent from Q4 to Q1, but the limited hard drive supply will cause the decline to reach 11.6 percent, iSuppli said.
IHS predicts that worldwide PC shipments in the first quarter of 2012 will amount to 84.2 million units, compared to the earlier forecast of 88 million. The new first-quarter forecast foresees an 11.6 percent sequential decline from 95.3 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011. While PC shipments typically decrease in the first quarter compared to the peak holiday-selling season in the fourth quarter, the drop in 2012 will be far sharper than the 6 percent historical average decline.
"The PC supply chain says it has sufficient HDD inventory for the fourth quarter of 2011. However, those stockpiles will run out in the first quarter of 2012, impacting PC production during that period," said Matthew Wilkins, senior principal analyst, compute platforms for IHS. Wilkins expects the supply situation to improve during the first quarter. and a rebound of shipments could take place in the second half of the year. In fact, the market research firm said that there is a chance of hard drive excess supply in the market by the end of 2012 as the industry returns to full production in Thailand.
For the entire year, it appears that the PC industry will miss its 400 million goal once again. IHS believes that only 376 million PCs will ship, "partly due to the HDD shortage, along with weakening demand due to other factors." IHS says that "the bulk in reduction in shipments will be in the notebook space, which is the area impacted by the HDD shortage." The market firm also noted that PCs will continue to be impacted by the demand for notebooks and are likely to face strong headwind.