Barclays Capital has lowered its estimated year-on-year growth for this year’s global PC shipments, citing the weakest fourth-quarter demand in 10 years.
The growth for PC shipments, including desktop PCs and notebooks, was cut from 3.4 percent to only 2.2 percent, Barclays Capital said in a research note released on Saturday.
Barclays Capital said that it attributed the revision mostly to a cut in the bank’s fourth-quarter forecast, which has been lowered from 4.3 percent growth year-on-year to a decline of 0.3 percent, because of a hard drive supply shortage caused by recent severe flooding in some parts of Thailand, which is where many of the hard drive manufacturers are located.
For the fourth quarter of this year, the bank said that it is expecting notebook shipments to decline 2 percent quarter-on--quarter, which is far worse than the normal seasonality of 14 percent growth.
Meanwhile, desktop PCs and motherboards are expected to decline 20 percent quarter-on--quarter, much worse than the normal seasonal 5 percent decline, Barclays Capital added.
However, the bank said it -believes that there is a good chance for a recovery in PC shipments either late in the second quarter or early in the third quarter of next year.
The bank based its optimism on channel inventory restocking after the hard drive shortage is resolved and other catalysts, such as the release of Windows 8 and mid and low-end Ultrabook laptops with an average selling price of US$600.
“It is not likely to be sustainable, as spending on technology is highly correlated with GDP growth,” Kirk Yang (楊應超), managing director of Barclays Capital Asia Ltd, wrote in the note.
“We will need to first work through the high PC inventory, the highest in the last 10 years, before PC shipments rebound,” he said.
“We continue to like brand PC stocks from a relative perspective, as they tend to be more defensive in a down-stock market,” he added.
“We expect both Acer Inc (宏碁) and Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想) to gain share with margin improvements in 2012,” Yang said.
However, looking at the situation from a longer-term perspective, Yang said it is difficult for Barclays Capital to stay too optimistic on Asian PC companies unless there is a strong economic turnaround, especially because of their lower exposure to the fast-growing cloud computing business, which includes software, IT services, storage and data centers.