Worldwide PC shipments increased by just 2.7% during the second quarter, and are expected to grow by just 2.8% for the entire year. Both estimates fall short of earlier forecasts of 2.9% growth in the second quarter and 4.2% for the year.
According to the International Data Corporation’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, cautious spending wrought by economic concerns, budget cannibalization from competing devices, and a general market saturation have all contributed to disappointing PC sales this year. As those conditions persist, only aggravated by economic concerns in the U.S. and Europe, the IDC expects 2012 to also see fewer shipments than originally expected. The IDC has downgraded its 2012 forecast from 10.2% to 9.3% year-over-year growth, though it still expects growth to be around 11% from 2013 through 2015.
While PC shipments were mostly on target during the second quarter, PC buying mature markets was weak, especially among small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and consumers. Sales in Western Europe declined 20% compared to a year ago, while U.S. sales declined 5%. However, Enterprise spending held up, and emerging regions continued to grow as China overtook the U.S. to become the largest PC market in the world. Emerging-market growth remains in the double-digits, buoying stagnating Western markets.
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While at first glance, the report might seem like bad news for the PC industry, many PC makers are responsible for their own declining sales, as they focus more on developing tablets and smartphones. The decline in PC shipments doesn’t necessarily indicate a decline in revenue. Here are some stocks to watch: Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL), IBM (NYSE:IBM), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), Lenovo (PINK:LNVGY), Samsung (SEO:005930), Acer (TPE:2353), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ).