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Western Europe PC Shipments on the decline

Gartner paints a dismal picture

PC shipments in Western Europe fell in the third quarter of this year, compared to 2011, Gartner said.

The company said the 13.6 million units recorded in the third quarter of 2012, were a 15.4 percent decline compared with the same period in 2011. Mobile PC shipments declined 15.2 percent while desktop PC shipments decreased 15.7 percent.

The professional and consumer PC markets declined 15.8 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

PC shipments in June and July were low as many vendors were trying to clear inventory from the second quarter of 2012.

Gartner said this was also hindered by channel and retail partners who  remained cautious about stocking too much inventory ahead of the Windows 8 launch.

When it came to vendors, HP continued to lose market share but retained the top position in the overall and professional PC segments, while Acer maintained second place with 5.2 percentage points behind HP in market share in the third quarter of 2012.

Despite a double-digit volume decline, Acer retained the lead in the consumer PC market in Western Europe, while Asus remained in third place as its “netbook” volume declined further and Ultrabook uptake remained slow.

It was better news for Lenovo, which had a second consecutive strong quarter and increased its share  by two percentage points in the Western European PC market. Lenovo was also the only top five vendor to show growth this quarter.

Gartner said that this was as a result of an addition to vendor acquisitions, as well as taking an aggressive position on pricing, especially in the professional PC market. This strategy had an impact on Dell’s performance this quarter with the company dropping to fifth position.

However, there was some light at the end of the tunnel with Gartner predicting the PC market would eventually return to growth. However it warned the growth rate would not be at the level it was a few years ago.

It said the long-term challenges for the PC industry and PC vendors were to show growth and bring out products that can compete with the new mobile devices coming on to the market.

Regionally, the UK PC shipment market continued to decline, racking up nearly  three million units in the third quarter of 2012. This was a decline of 7.2 percent compared with the same period in 2011.

However, this didn’t come as a surprise with Gartner pointing out that the UK PC market has seen a decline in PC shipments during seven of the last eight quarters.

In the third quarter of 2012, the consumer PC market declined eight percent, while the professional PC market declined six percent. The mobile PC market decline was lower than expected this quarter – it decreased three percent, while the desktop PC market fell 13 percent.

In the third quarter of 2012, Toshiba and Apple were the only top five vendors to achieve growth in the UK PC market.

Dell saw a dismal day with its shares “slipping fast.”

And it wasn’t much better over in France, which saw a  decrease of 7.6 percent compared with the same period in 2011. Gartner said this was due to a lack of interest in the back to school market, which had traditionally been successful in the country.

The professional market declined 7.4 percent in the third quarter 2012 as a result of the migration to Windows 7 by businesses being low. In addition, slow shipments into the education sector affected the professional PC market in France.

In the third quarter of 2012, the mobile PC market accounted for 65 percent of total PC shipments in France, with volumes decreasing 8.5 percent. Desktop PCs declined 5.9 percent year-on-year, despite good demand for the all-in-one form factor.

Sales of ultrabooks remained low in France in the third quarter of 2012. The ultraportable segment represented 8.7 percent of all mobile PCs shipped in the quarter.

In Germany PC shipments totalled 2.7 million units in the third quarter of 2012, a decrease of 19 percent compared with the same period in 2011. This equalled to 600,000 fewer PCs than in the third quarter of 2011, half of which were consumer notebooks.

Mobile PC shipments declined 14 percent in the third quarter of 2012, while desktop volumes decreased 13 percent year-on-year. Consumer and professional PC demand declined 20 percent and 18 percent, respectively.

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