Analysts Compute Solid Growth for Industrial PCs

Dec. 1, 2011
IMS Research Expects a 70% Rise in Industrial PC Revenues Over the Next Few Years as Factory Automation Increases in Developing Markets

The world industrial PC (IPC) market was hit very hard by the global recession, but rebounded nicely in 2010. Now IMS Research forecasts strong growth to 2015, rising by 70% over 2010.

IPC revenues took a big hit in all major regions in 2009. Japan saw the biggest drop (32%), followed closely by Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA, 26%) and the Americas (22%). Asia-Pacific fared better, falling just 9% in 2009. All regions and industrial sectors registered strong growth in 2010, however, as projects that had been postponed came back online and IPC distributors and users replenished stock, IMS said.

Strong growth is projected to continue to 2015, with the world IPC market increasing from estimated total revenues of $2.07 billion in 2010 to $3.52 billion in 2015, according to the latest research from IMS.

Several sectors—transportation and traffic, medical, military, digital signage, and security (CCTV) systems—are expected to see above-average growth during this period, according to report author Mark Watson. Within the traditional industrial sector, increasing labor costs in typically low-cost manufacturing regions such as China and India will spur increased use of process automation, which will benefit the IPC markets of developing regions.

Several ongoing trends will impact IPC adoption and usage in the factory automation sector, Watson noted. “These include more networking (particularly Ethernet), lower-power IPCs, introduction of more ARM-based products, new display technologies (widescreen, multi-touch), emergence of C Fast Flash storage, and higher ruggedization,” he said.

Although the short-term outlook for the IPC market looks healthy, the fragility of the global economic recovery could blunt longer-term growth, IMS Research pointed out. Market recovery is now faltering in some principal economies as uncertainty reduces investment, and could have an effect on the IPC market if problems persist. Access to capital, particularly for small and medium-size businesses, is likely to be an ongoing problem, which will inhibit investment in new capital equipment and, in turn, the IPC market.