Tablet demand causes PC sales in Europe to plummet

18 May 2011

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Western European computer buyers are either holding back their disposable spending on PCs or they have spent the money on tablet devices, reports Gartnher which says PC sales fell 17.8pc in Europe year-on-year.

PC shipments in Western Europe totaled 14.7 million units in the first quarter of 2011, a decline of 17.8pc from the same period in 2010, according to Gartner.

“The PC market in Western Europe had not exhibited a decline since the second quarter of 2009,” said Meike Escherich, principal analyst at Gartner.

“This quarter’s poor performance was due to excess inventory accumulated at the end of the fourth quarter of 2010 in many countries in Western Europe. The excess inventory was reduced only slightly, as demand came to a standstill.

“The seasonal growth was also weaker than expected, indicating that the downward trend seen at the end of 2010 continued into the first quarter of 2011.”

Disposable spending goes on tablet computers

In Western Europe, consumers continued to hold back disposable spending on PCs, or they spent it on other devices like media tablets. This resulted in extending current PC life cycles. PC shipments in the consumer market declined 25pc year-on-year, with the mini-notebook segment hit especially hard.

“The PC demand in the professional market also held back this quarter as the weak economic environment continues to discourage PC spending,” added. Escherich. PC shipments in the professional market decreased 8pc year-on-year.

HP maintained its No. 1 position in Western Europe despite a 25pc decline in mobile PCs. Both Acer’s and Dell’s shipment performances were considerably lower than the market average. Acer faced high levels of inventory from the previous quarter and Dell recorded slow demand across all segments.

Declining demand for mini-notebooks also impacted Asus’ performance. Apple made its debut among the top five vendors in Western Europe displacing Toshiba in the first quarter of 2011. Apple was the only one among the top five vendors to increase shipments, with volumes for mobile PCs growing 32pc in the first quarter of 2011.

PC shipments in the UK totalled 2.7 million units in the first quarter of 2011, a decline of 17.5pc compared with the same period in 2010. The UK market exhibited the worst decline of the three major countries in Western Europe in the first quarter of 2011.

PC shipments in France totalled 2.7 million units in the first quarter of 2011, a decline of 15.5pc compared with the same period in 2010.

PC shipments in Germany totalled 2.8 million units in the first quarter of 2011, a decrease of 16.5pc compared with the same period in 2010.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com