IDC has nearly halved its forecasts for worldwide PC sales in 2011, blaming the move to alternative platforms by consumers and fears over the economy.
The analyst firm predicted in February that global PC shipments would rise by 7.1 per cent for the year, but has now cut this to just 4.2 per cent. Shipments fell 1.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2011, and consumer sales were hit the hardest.
IDC suggested that part of the reason for the slowdown is the move by consumers to tablets, smartphones and e-book readers. Over 80 per cent of the growth in PC shipments of the past few years has been in netbooks, which have proved especially popular in developing markets.
"Consumers are recognising the value of owning and using multiple intelligent devices," said Bob O'Donnell, vice president of clients and displays at IDC.
"Because they already own PCs, they are now adding smartphones, media tablets and e-readers to their device collections. This has shifted the technology share of wallet onto other connected devices."
Fears over the state of the economy have also depressed demand. IDC recorded double-digit drops in consumer sales across western Europe, the US and Canada, while reduced economic projections, and the withdrawal of government stimulus money, have weakened demand in the corporate sector.
However, the global PC market is expected to rebound strongly in 2012, pushed by a combination of new technology and better form-factors, IDC predicted. Overall growth rates of around 10 per cent are expected from 2012 to 2015.
"The PC market has definitely hit a slow patch," said Loren Loverde, vice president of IDC's Worldwide Consumer Device Trackers.
"Nevertheless, the long-term growth drivers - emerging markets, declining prices and growing functionality - remain intact, and the product and design innovations underway will keep PC growth healthy in the long term."
Climate change likely forced inhabitants of Indus Valley civilisation to resettle in the Himalayan foothills
Shift in weather patterns made agriculture almost impossible in the Indus Valley region
Researchers claim that the magnetic properties of a thin-film material can be controlled by applying a small voltage
Dubbed Antlia 2, the ghost galaxy sits just 130,000 light-years away from the Milky Way
Delays to the roll-out of age verification for adult websites hasn't stopped government from considering extending them to more websites