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IDC: Rough Quarter for PC Sales

If you noticed the April-May-June quarter seemed slow for PC sales, the numbers now back you up.

IDC released figures this week showing that the worldwide PC market stalled in the second quarter. Shipments fell 0.1 percent globally compared to the year-ago quarter and dropped a whopping 10.6 percent in the United States.

IDC had expected a slowdown but nothing this bad. Back in May, the firm projected that for the quarter, global growth would be 2.1 percent, with a 4.4 percent drop in the United States.

The problem appears to be a combination of factors ranging from economic uncertainties all over the world to market saturation to a tendency to delay purchases until Q4 when the potentially disruptive Windows 8 and its initial set of systems is released. IDC didn't say it, but Apple iPad purchases have to be part of that equation, too.

In the channel, the problems are manifesting as disappointing sell-out of distribution channels during the first quarter, making the channels wary of building inventory now.

Hearing an official release timetable for Windows 8 this week may help, but not in time to avoid a rough third quarter, too.

"We don't expect PCs using Windows 8 to boost growth significantly until the fourth quarter, which leads to a conservative outlook for the third quarter," said David Daoud, research director, Personal Computing at IDC, in a statement.

The numbers shed new light on why Microsoft, which has an exceptionally good lens on the global PC market, this week at WPC announced such an aggressive upgrade offer ($14.99 to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro when it ships for customers buying Windows 7 PCs now).

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 12, 2012