World Cup contributes to PC slowdown

21 Jul 2006

The World Cup contributed to slower demand for PCs in many countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, while large inventory in the channel since Q1 constrained new shipment levels, it emerged last night.

According to the latest figures from IDC, a modest growth of 6.4pc year-over-year growth across the EMEA region was achieved during the second quarter.

Demand for notebook computers appears to be eclipsing that of desktop computers with notebooks continuing to show double-digit growth.

“While demand in western Europe was set to slow in 2Q06, with the additional impact of the World Cup, the level of inventory built up in the channel since Q4 clearly added to further penalize overall shipment levels in Q2,” said Karine Paoli, research director for IDC’s EMEA PC group.

“The gradual stock reduction that took place this quarter, combined with continued demand for portable PCs and attractive promotions expected in the back-to-school season, should offer a return to healthier growth patterns in Q3, but the competitive environment will remain fierce at all industry levels.”

Western Europe was clearly the most affected by the trends observed this quarter, posting a modest 0.7pc growth overall for PC sales, and thanks to sustained notebook demand, which partially offset declining desktop trends.

Desktop sales suffered, as anticipated, from limited business refresh cycle activity, while in the consumer space, the continued traction around portables, assisted by increasingly attractive price points, continued to prevent a rebound in consumer desktop demand.

Notebooks clearly continue to drive overall market growth in EMEA with shipments recording a solid 19.7pc growth in EMEA, only slightly below expectations. Growth continued unabated in the central Europe, while western Europe maintained healthy trends, despite the inventory situation.

“While some European countries were strongly hit by slowing demand and inventory levels,” Elsa Opitz, research manager for IDC’s EMEA PC Tracker, explained, “continued traction for notebooks in the consumer and SMB space, driven by increasingly attractive price points and product value propositions, and the preparation of the forthcoming back-to-school season maintained a strong cushion for growth in many other countries in western Europe.

“Vendors clearly continued to compete fiercely in the portable space, with many continuing to post healthy growth results,” Opitz added.

HP stayed in pole position in the EMEA PC market with overall growth at 5.6pc, although constrained by slower demand for desktops. In the notebook market, however, the company reported 15pc year over year.

In second place Dell managed to outpace market growth and consolidate its position with a 13.3pc share of the market.

Third and fourth positions were held by Acer and Fujitsu Siemens respectively. Fujitsu Siemens found the World Cup in Germany had a particular bearing on demand for desktop PCs. In fifth place Toshiba was buoyed by a strong performance in the notebook market due to a strong product portfolio and improved channel strategies.

By John Kennedy