Apple is the only computer maker growing in Europe

18 Aug 2011

Apple is the only personal computer manufacturer in Europe that has demonstrated growth of any description during the second quarter. Major players HP, Dell, Lenovo and Asus all showed negative growth.

According to new figures from Gartner, PC shipments in Western Europe totalled 12.7m units in the second quarter of 2011, a decline of 18.9pc from the same period in 2010, according to Gartner, Inc.

“The PC market in Western Europe suffered from weak demand in both the professional and consumer sectors, a market which also faced inventory issues caused by overstocking in 2010,” said Meike Escherich, principal analyst at Gartner.

The mobile PC market was particularly hit hard with a 20.4pc decline, as mini-notebook shipments decreased 53pc. Desktop PCs declined 15.4pc year-on-year.

“The much-anticipated uptake in the professional segment, in the wake of migration to Windows 7, was subdued by the negative economic outlook,” said Escherich. “PC shipments in the professional segment declined 9pc in the second quarter of 2011. The biggest decline continued to come from the consumer segment, which decreased 27pc year-on-year.”

In the second quarter of 2011, Acer lost the No 1 position as a result of significant inventory adjustments and a decrease in mini-notebook sales. Acer’s weak performance resulted in HP moving to the No 1 position while Dell remained in the No 3 position. Asus shipments declined 22.9pc as consumer demand remained weak and mini-notebook shipments fell rapidly.

“This quarter’s results highlights the ongoing weakness of consumer demand, and could indicate a structural change in the market that threatens to continue in the near future,” said Escherich.

PCs are not attracting consumers’ disposable income

PC shipments in the UK totalled 2.5m units in the second quarter of 2011, a decline of 15pc compared with the same period in 2010. PC shipments in France totalled 2.3m units in the second quarter of 2011, a decline of 17.8pc compared with the same period in 2010. PC shipments in Germany totalled 2.4m units in the second quarter of 2011, a decrease of 13.3pc compared with the same period in 2010. The PC market in Germany exhibited its second consecutive quarter of double-digit shipment decline.

In the UK, Acer declined almost 50pc. “Acer’s decline of nearly 50pc in the second quarter pulled down the market further than expected,” said Isabelle Durand, principal analyst at Gartner. “Acer had significant inventory that led to its weak performance, but it also prevented other vendors from pushing new shipments into the channel.”

The poor performance of Acer this quarter does not mask the fact that the consumer market in the UK remained weak, with a decline of more than 15pc in the second quarter of 2011. “Most consumers continue to hold back spending on PCs by extending life cycles on existing PCs and purchasing other devices,” Durand said.

The professional market remained weak with a decline of 13.5pc in the second quarter of 2011. The migration to Windows 7 and replacement of ageing PCs continued to be muted by the negative economic outlook.

HP moved to the No 1 position, while Dell maintained the No 2 position. Apple and Samsung were the only vendors in the top 5 vendors ranking to post single-digit growth.

“PCs are not attracting consumers’ disposable income, particularly in light of alternative devices. While remaining an important device to consumers, there are few compelling technological reasons to drive PC replacements,” said Durand.

Gartner table

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years