IHS: China led global PC market for first time ever in 2012

As the PC industry continues to fluctuate, its top markets are shifting as well, based on a new report.


China became the top market for the PC industry in 2012, according to a new report from IHS iSuppli.

According to analysts, 2012 marked the first time that China has ever held the top spot on an annual basis with 69 million units shipped there. The United States dropped to second place with 66 million units.

The market intelligence firm has already been predicting bigger things for China over the last year. For example, last spring, analysts predicted that China's PC market would grow by approximately 12 percent over the course of 2012.

In Monday's report, analysts pointed toward form factor and other computing preferences that resonated more with Chinese consumers compared to elsewhere.

Peter Lin, a senior analyst covering compute platforms at IHS, explained further in the report by noting that desktops and notebooks split the market in China, which seems to be unique to the country.

The equal share of shipments for desktops and notebooks in China is unusual, since consumers in most regions today tend to prefer more agile mobile PCs, rather than the bulky, stationary desktops. The relatively large percentage of desktop PC shipments in China is due to huge demand in the country’s rural areas, which account for a major segment of the country’s 1.34 billion citizens. These consumers tend to prefer the desktop form factor.

Nevertheless, just because China became the top PC market doesn't necessarily mean that sales are doing well there.

In fact, IHS analysts acknowledged that demand for PCs in China is on par with that around the rest of the world, continually weakening in the face of the shift to mobile . Thus, analysts are only forecasting China's PC space to grow by three to four percent in 2013.