PC sales forecast slashed on back of disk drive crisis

Global economy and fondleslab fever also to blame


IHS has slashed PC sales forecasts for 2012 because of weakening demand and an ongoing disk drive crisis.

HDD shortages triggered by the Thai floods will lead to a 3.8 million unit shortfall in PC shipments for Q1 compared to the beancounter's previous forecast, dragging down expectations for the whole year.

“The PC supply chain says it has sufficient HDD inventory for the fourth quarter of 2011. However, those stockpiles will run out in the first quarter of 2012, impacting PC production during that period,” said Matthew Wilkins, IHS senior analyst.

The global market is projected to grow at 6.8 per cent in Q1, down from the 9.5 per cent the analyst initially forecast, which equates to 84.2 million boxes rather than 88 million.

PC prices have already seen a slight increase and are expected to rise further as disk drive shortages hit the supply chain.

For the whole year, IHS predicts 376 million boxes will be shipped, down from the previous expectation of 399 million, "partly due to the HDD shortage, along with weakening demand due to other factors" including the flakey economy and continued appetite for tablets.

Notebooks are worst affected by the HDD issue, meaning growth will rise by only 10.1 per cent, compared with the 13.8 per cent gain previously expected.

Disk drive demand will not be satisfied until the third quarter but availability will start to improve from next month.

WD has partially resumed production at one of its flood-hit fabs and ramped production in Malaysia.

"Ironically, the HDD market could face an inventory surplus by the end of 2012, after facilities in Thailand return to full production. When combined with the added production outside the country, the recovery in Thailand’s HDD operations could result in excess supply," IHS said. ®

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