The worldwide PC market is forecast to experience very modest growth during the first half of 2012 but the release of Windows 8 and a new generation of ultrabooks and other ultra-thin laptops will invigorate consumer demand for personal computers during the second half of the year.
"Many consumers are holding off making PC purchases at the moment because tablet devices like Apple's iPad are proving to be a powerful distraction," said Bob O'Donnell, vice president of Clients and Displays at IDC in a report published on March 20. "However, end user surveys tell us that few people consider media tablets as replacements for their PCs, so later this year when there is a new Microsoft operating system, available in sleek new PC form factors, we believe consumer interest in PCs will begin to rebound."
A report published by Bloomberg on March 20 claims that Microsoft will put the finishing touches on its latest operating system, Windows 8, this summer. That would give Microsoft enough time to ready tablets and PCs running the new operating system for an October debut.
“Windows 8 and ultrabooks are a definitive step in the right direction to recapturing the relevance of the PC, but its promise of meshing a tablet experience in a PC body will likely entail a period of trial and error, thus the market will likely see modest growth in the near term," said Jay Chou, senior research analyst, Worldwide PC Tracker.
IDC predicts that the worldwide PC market will grow from 353.3 million units in 2011 to 518.3 million units in 2016. The majority of that growth will come from portable PC sales in emerging markets such as Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), Latin America, Central and Eastern Africa, Middle East, and Africa.
Market researcher Gartner agreed that emerging markets were be the key to PC growth in both the short and long term.
In a study released on March 8 Gartner said that while new ultrabooks and hybrid computers will create “compelling” options for consumers in the market for a new computers, PCs will face more competition from media tablets and portable devices.
“Consumers will now look at a task that they have to perform, and they will determine which device will allow them to perform such a task in the most effective, fun and convenient way. The device has to meet the user needs not the other way round,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.