Thailand floods to hurt PC shipments, but ‘excess supply’ of HDDs in 2012

Following catastrophic flooding in Thailand this fall, PC shipment expectations for 2012 have dropped considerably, revealed market research and analysis firm IHS. A projected shortfall for next year’s opening quarter will result in nearly 4 million fewer units hitting the market than previously predicted, said the company.

Thailand floods to hurt PC shipments, but 'excess supply' of HDDs in 2012

IHS tweaked its earlier expectation of 88 million global PCs in early 2012 to 84.2 million – far greater than the traditional 6 percent post-holiday drop-off, explained IHS Senior Principal Analyst Matthew Wilkins.

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

While not divulging specific numbers, he said that PC notebooks were hit hardest by the HDD production troubles. The popular portable hardware is still on track for healthy growth, however, albeit 3 points down from the analyst’s previous 13.8 percent estimate.

Wilkins concluded that the PC sector will more or less stabilize as HDD makers ramp up production (and then some) by next fall. But a poor economy and general “weakening demand” will still hinder overall PC shipments, he said, cutting IHS’ 2012 global PC shipment forecast by 23 million to 376 million.

The growing popularity of media tablets – including the market’s new no.2 contender, the Kindle Fire – is also drawing consumer dollars, said Wilkins. (via IHS iSuppli)