China Skips Ahead of U.S. in PC Sales Ahead of Schedule

For those of you keeping score, China just leapfrogged over the United States to become the largest PC market in the world, according to data by market research firm IDC. The latest figures peg China accounting for 18.5 million units worth $11.9 billion shipped in the second quarter of 2011, enough to edge out the United States, which received 17.7 million units worth $11.7 billion. China now holds a 22 percent of the PC market, compared to the U.S. at 21 percent. Does it really matter?

"China's lead in the PC market is a huge shift that reflects the rising fortunes of emerging markets as well as the relative stagnation of more mature regions," said Loren Loverde, Program Vice President, Worldwide PC Tracker. "While the immediate economic circumstances in the U.S. and other markets had a significant impact on the timing of China's move to the lead, they have not changed the trend, but accelerated it."

What IDC considers a PC are desktops, portables, and mini notebooks. Not included in the above shipment figures are x86 servers and media tablets like the hugely popular iPad and competing Android devices.

Looking ahead, IDC expects the U.S. to come out ahead of China for the full year and remain the largest market in 2011, especially with the holiday shopping season right around the corner. In 2012, however, IDC predicts China will surpass the U.S. for full year shipments with 85.2 million units expected to ship compared to 76.6 million in the U.S.