A new IMS Research report on the world market for industrial PCs (IPCs) estimated total revenues of $2.07 billion in 2010. Strong growth is projected to 2015, with world IPC revenues reaching $3.52 billion.
The world IPC market was hit very hard by the global recession, with 2009 revenues taking a big hit in all major regions. Drops in Europe, Middle East & Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) and Japan were estimated at 26%, 22%, 9% and 32% respectively. The 2010 IPC market rebounded strongly; with all regions and sectors registering strong growth as projects that had been postponed came back on line and IPC distributors and users replenished stock.
Report author Mark Watson comments "Good growth of IPC revenues is forecast for sectors other than traditional factory automation. They include transportation & traffic, medical, military, digital signage, and security (CCTV) systems. All of these sectors are forecast to have above-average growth rates; as system suppliers and end users increasingly recognise IPCs as well suited to display information, to gather and handle large volumes of data, and to provide integrated control."
As labour costs increase in traditionally low-cost manufacturing regions, such as China and India, there will also be an increasing motivation to automate processes. This will mean replacing manual labour with machinery, which will benefit the IPC markets of developing regions.
However, following the bounce back from the recession, market recovery is now faltering in some principal economies as uncertainty reduces investment. The effects are yet to be widely seen in the IPC market, with strong growth in 2011 and a positive outlook for 2012; but they will undoubtedly filter through if problems persist.
Access to capital, particularly for small and medium size businesses, is likely to be an on-going problem, which will inhibit investment in new capital equipment and, in turn, the IPC market.
Overall, the short-term outlook for the IPC market looks healthy; but the fragility of global economic recovery may blunt longer-term growth. The current difficulties of the Eurozone and political wrangling in the US, the outcome of which will impact the world economy, are key concerns; and will shape the future growth trajectory of the IPC market.