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US PC shipments fell in 2011 for the first time in ten years

Figures released by research firm IDC on Wednesday showed that for the first time in a decade PC shipments in the US declined in 2011.

The American PC market “had its second worst year in history,” IDC said in a press release, with shipments in 2011 dropping 4.9 percent over the previous year.

The PC market has been knocked by a sluggish economy, problems with the supply of hard disks due to the floods in Thailand late last year, and competition from other devices such as tablets and smartphones.

“In the United States, market saturation and the economic environment continue to weigh considerably on consumer demand,” David Daoud, research director of personal computing at IDC, said in the press release.

Despite the fall in shipments in 2011, Daoud said he expected the market to bounce back. “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.”

As for worldwide shipments, they also fell. In the fourth quarter of last year, 92.7 million PCs were shipped, down 0.2 percent compared to the same quarter a year earlier.

IDC’s Loren Loverde commented on the figures, saying that Europe and the Asia-Pacific region had actually performed better than expected, indicating improved performance in key markets and reflecting an underlying demand in emerging areas.

He added, “However, the industry still needs to work through some key hurdles in 2012, including recovery of HDD supply, the launch of Windows 8, and successful evolution of PC design to become still more mobile. Despite the challenges, the industry appears to be on the right path, and will be poised for substantial double-digit growth after working through these issues in 2012.”

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