Report: PC sales to grow slowly ahead of Windows 8

The PC industry will continue to grow in 2012 but at a much slower pace than in previous years. That's the conclusion of the research firm Gartner, who predicted today that worldwide PC shipments will total 386 million units this year, an increase of 4.4 percent compared to 2011.

However, the firm predicts that shipments will grow in a faster pace for 2013, reaching over 400 million units worldwide in that year.

Windows 8 will be one of the biggest factors in the growth of the PC market in the future. The rise of the thin-and-light notebooks known as ultrabooks could also boost PC sales. Gartner states, "The real question is whether Windows 8 and ultrabooks will create the compelling offering that gets the earlier adopter of devices excited about PCs again."

There are other factors that will affect the PC market, according to Gartner. That includes smartphones which are being used more and more for common PC tasks such as email, Internet access and social networking services. The move to cloud-based solutions for software will also be a factor in the future of the PC industry.

Gartner says:

Consumers will now look at a task that they have to perform, and they will determine which device will allow them to perform such a task in the most effective, fun and convenient way. The device has to meet the user needs not the other way round.

One thing that will help boost PC sales are their introduction in emerging markets and countries. Gartner says, "Emerging markets have very low PC penetration and even with the availability of other devices we still expect a steady uptake of PCs.”

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