With a brutal fourth quarter, PC vendors concluded a tough year for the industry.
In the U.S. Compared to Q4 2010, PC shipments dropped by 6.7 percent from 19.9 million units to 18.6 million. HP held on to its leading rank, but sold only 4.3 million PCs during the quarter, which was down 25.3 percent from 2010. Dell was down by 4.7 percent to 4.2 million, but Apple beat the trend and climbed by 18 percent to 2.0 million PCs. Acer dropped to number 5 with 1.5 million PCs, behind Toshiba with 1.9 million.
According to IDC, the shortage of hard drives and increasing competition from media tablets impacted the industry, and added to the already fragile economic climate. Globally, the PC industry sold 92.7 million Units, a decline of 0.2 percent year-over-year. For the entire year, U.S. PC sales were down 4.9 percent to 71.3 million units, while global demand climbed by 1.6 percent to 352.4 million PCs.
"In the United States, market saturation and the economic environment continue to weigh considerably on consumer demand. However, the market is awaiting new products and technologies, promising a new refresh cycle starting in 3Q12 and beyond with a return to positive growth in the mid-term," said David Daoud, research director, Personal Computing at IDC. According to IDC, 2011 was, behind 2001, the "second worst year in history" for the U.S. market.
In contrast, Europe and Asia/Pacfic performed "a little stronger" than expected, the market research firm said.
For the first quarter of this year, IDC expects the market to slow even more as the impact of the hard drive shortage is now felt on a broad basis. However, as the industry bounces back, PC makers are forecast to gain about 15 percent in shipments by the fourth quarter. 2012 shipments are currently forecast at 371 million, an increase of 5.4 percent over 2011. 2013 is predicted to achieve growth "in high teens" during the first half of the year.