We've been reporting on the hard drive shortages due to the floods in Thailand for the past couple of months. While we have seen the price of PC hard drives skyrocket in the last several weeks and supplies for the drives themselves dwindle, it appears that the shortage could seriously affect the total number of PC shipments worldwide.
That's the conclusion from the research team iSuppli, who have reported that their previous predictions of PC unit shipments will now fall short by 3.8 million for the first quarter of 2012. As a result of this predicted shortfall, the worldwide sales growth of PCs as a whole will decrease from 9.5 percent in 2012 down to just 6.8 percent.
Overall, iSuppli predicts that a combination of the hard drive shortage and weakening demand for PCs as a whole will cause shipments in 2012 to total 376 million compared to a previous prediction of 399 million. Most of the reduction will be felt in the notebook part of the PC business, which has been the most affected by the hard drive shortage.
The good news is that PC shipments should go back to pre-Thailand flood numbers by the second half of 2012. It also predicts that when Thailand's hard drive plants get back up and running at full speed, there could actually be a surplus of hard drives in the business.