It was a disappointing third quarter for the PC market in Europe. PC shipments in Western Europe totalled 14.8m units in the third quarter of 2011, a 11.4pc decline from the same period last year, according to Gartner.
“The inventory build-up that slowed growth in the last four quarters was mostly cleared during the third quarter of 2011; however, the PC industry continued to perform below normal seasonality,” said Meike Escherich, principal analyst at Gartner.
“The results in the third quarter of 2011 make unpleasant reading for the PC industry, as the third quarter is traditionally a strong consumer quarter, driven by back-to-school sales.”
The mobile PC market was particularly hard hit, with a 12.6pc decline, driven by more than a 40pc decrease in mini notebook shipments in the third quarter of 2011. Desktops declined 8.7pc.
The market segment showing the greatest decline was in the consumer segment, which decreased 18.8pc year-on-year. The much hoped for uptake of professional PCs in the wake of the migration to Windows7 remained subdued by the pessimistic economic outlook. PC shipments in the professional segment declined 2.1pc year-on-year.
HP retained its No 1 position, managing the uncertainties around a possible spin–off of its PC division better than expected. Asus’ shipments increased sharply, with growth in notebooks across the consumer and small or mid-size business (SMB) markets. As a result, Asus moved above Dell to the No 3 position, and Dell fell to No 4.
Acer’s continuing inventory problems opened up the channel for Asus and other vendors to push their own shipments. Apple reached fifth place with 28pc growth in mobile PCs. Apple experienced double-digit growth in both the consumer and professional space.
“The share of mini notebooks continues to decline, which contributed to the weak year-on-year comparison.
“Moreover, the consumer PC markets in Western Europe remained essentially weak, with consumer confidence permanently shaken by the economic issues spreading across most of the region,” said Escherich.
A three-speed market
PC shipments in the UK totalled 2.9m units in the third quarter of 2011, an 11pc decline compared with the same period in 2010.
“The market seems to be moving at three speeds,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. “The top two vendors, HP and Dell, continued to struggle to find new opportunities and experienced single-digit declines; Acer, in the process of inventory re-adjustment, declined more than 50pc; Apple and Samsung gained strength in the market.
“More importantly, quarter-on-quarter, all vendors saw growth apart from Acer, suggesting the fluctuations in the market may be bottoming out.”
The PC market in France showed a slight decline and exhibited results better than the Western European average in the third quarter of 2011. PC shipments in France totalled 2.6m units in the third quarter of 2011, a decline of 2.1pc compared with the same period in 2010.
PC shipments in Germany totalled 3m units in the third quarter of 2011, a decrease of 7.9pc compared with the same period in 2010. This is the fifth consecutive quarter of declines for the German PC market.