The arrival of Windows 8 and the rise of the ultrabook market in the second half of 2012 is expected to help the PC market grow by 5pc for the year, according to new figures from the International Data Corporation (IDC).
According to the IDC, in 2011, worldwide PC shipments grew by 1.8pc. The research firm said vendors struggled to keep consumers interested thanks to global economic difficulties and other devices, such as tablets. It described the Christmas season as ‘lacklustre’ for the PC market, with PC shipments in the US and Western Europe shrinking by 9pc in 2011 compared to 2010.
However, 2012 looks to be more promising, with the IDC predicting it will grow by 5pc for the year. Much of this growth is expected to happen in the second half of the year with the launch of Windows 8, along with the arrival of more ultra-slim laptops.
“Many consumers are holding off making PC purchases at the moment because tablet devices like Apple’s iPad are proving to be a powerful distraction," according to Bob O’Donnell, vice-president of Clients and Displays at IDC.
"However, end-user surveys tell us that few people consider media tablets as replacements for their PCs, so later this year when there is a new Microsoft operating system, available in sleek new PC form factors, we believe consumer interest in PCs will begin to rebound."
However, some regions will see lower growth in the PC market. The IDC believes growth in the PC market in China will fall to 9pc due to a shortage of disk drives.
Jay Chou, senior research analyst for the IDC, believes that 2012 and 2013 will bring "significant challenges" for both Microsoft and the PC community.
"The Wintel platform must evolve to accommodate user expectations of ubiquitous computing on a multitude of devices and physical settings,” said Chou.
“Windows 8 and ultrabooks are a definitive step in the right direction to recapturing the relevance of the PC, but its promise of meshing a tablet experience in a PC body will likely entail a period of trial and error, thus the market will likely see modest growth in the near term,” he said.