Digital home drives PC sales

20 Jan 2005

Digital home applications are driving strong European PC sales, particularly in notebooks and media centre hardware, new research from Canalys has indicated.

Combined consumer desktop and notebook shipments rose by 20.3pc for the final quarter of 2004, the UK analyst firm said. Consumer notebooks were the fastest growing segment of the quarter, with shipments rising strongly by 32.2pc year on year. Total PC shipments for the quarter were 16.8pc.

The company noted that there had been fears of a softening in the EMEA consumer market during the Christmas period. However, home users across the continent profited from some low retail price points for laptops.

Alastair Edwards, Canalys senior analyst, commented: “The current explosion in digital home applications is luring a new breed of technology consumers into Europe’s IT retail stores, where they are exposed to highly attractive notebook price points.”

He added that consumers are replacing and upgrading notebooks at a faster rate than previously because of the need for additional processing power to run applications such as photo and video editing, allied to the digital music boom. “This may not be contributing to healthy bottom lines for retailers on notebooks, but it is driving volumes and the potential to up-sell and cross-sell into the digital home segment,” Edwards said.

According to Canalys, the main beneficiaries of this trend have been Apple, Toshiba, Acer and NEC. Apple was able to take advantage of demand for its iPod digital music player, with its notebook shipments increasing by more than 64pc year on year, making it the fastest growing notebook vendor although in market share terms it remains outside the top five suppliers.

The growth in notebook sales appears to be coming at the expense of desktops; laptop shipments in EMEA were up by 30.3pc compared to the same quarter last year whereas desktops grew by less than 11pc.

By Gordon Smith