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Still No Sign of a Recovery in the Global PC Market

As anticipated, performance of the personal computer (PC) market in 2013 is in line with earlier forecasts -- following the significant trends of last year -- with a few exceptions.

According to the latest global market study by International Data Corporation (IDC), their assessment reveals slower than expected growth in China during the first quarter of 2013 (1Q13).

Although the slowdown is partially due to the timing of Chinese New Year and other expected factors, new budget cuts from the government as well as anti-corruption measures are slowing purchases more than expected.

March should recover somewhat in China, but not enough to offset the weak February results.

With China now the top PC market worldwide -- accounting for over 21 percent of global shipments in 2012 -- the slow February results and likely impact on March are expected to lower first quarter global PC shipments by roughly 2 percent from recent forecasts.

Other monthly results indicate close-to-forecast market performance in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Latin America, and Asia-Pacfic excluding Japan (APeJ).

Meanwhile, supply chain data indicates room for a slightly larger downward adjustment, according to the latest IDC assessment. We'll now have to wait and see if signs of a recovery appear later in the year.

"Based on our latest quarterly figures, global PC shipments were expected to decline by 7.7 percent in the first quarter as vendors and the supply chain work through the Windows 8 transition," said Loren Loverde, program vice president at IDC.

However, IDC's February monthly data suggest that there could be a drop touching double-digits in the first quarter and a mid-single-digit decline in the second quarter of 2013 -- before we see any recovery in the second half of the year.

Even getting to positive growth in the second half of 2013 would take some attractive new PC designs and more competitive pricing relative to tablets and other products. To date, there's been no indication that's likely to happen in the near-term -- as vendors continue to assess the disappointing adoption of Ultrabooks.

IDC resreach fills the growing demand for timely and accurate information on the global PC market. It provides a monthly update on the trends in key markets around the world, providing data on rapidly changing trends.

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