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Industrial PC sales rebound following recessionary cutbacks
Published:  01 December, 2011

The global market for industrial PCs (IPCs) was worth about $2.07bn in 2010 and will grow strongly to reach $3.52bn by 2015, according to a new forecast from IMS Research. Although the market was hit hard by the global recession, it bounced back last year in all regions and sectors as projects that had been postponed came back on line and IPC distributors and users replenished stock.

According to IMS, the short-term outlook for the IPC market looks healthy but it warns that the fragility of the global economic recovery may blunt longer-term growth. The current difficulties in the Eurozone and political wrangling in the US are key concerns that will shape the future growth trajectory of the market.

The IPC market recovery is already faltering in some economies as uncertainty reduces investment. The effects have yet to be seen widely with strong growth expected to continue in 2011, with a positive outlook for 2012, but IMS warns that “they will undoubtedly filter through if problems persist”.

Access to capital, particularly for small and medium sized businesses, is likely to inhibit investment in new capital equipment and, in turn, the IPC market, it adds.

As labour costs rise in traditionally low-cost manufacturing regions such as China and India, there will be an increasing motivation to automate processes. Replacing manual labour with machinery will benefit the IPC markets in these regions, IMS says.

The report’s author, Mark Watson, expects IPCs to make increasing inroads into sectors other than traditional factory automation, such as transport, traffic controls, digital signage and security. He predicts that these sectors will have above-average growth rates as suppliers and end-users recognise that IPCs can be used to display information, to gather and handle large volumes of data, and to provide integrated control. The graph above shows the global market for industrial PCs by sector for 2010 (blue) and 2015 (grey).

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