PC SHIPMENTS in Western Europe were down 11.4 per cent in the third quarter, according to market research firm Gartner, showing that there is still a way to go before the PC market fully recovers from the impact of the recession and the onslaught of tablet computers.
The laptop market was the hardest hit, with a 12.6 per cent decline, primarily driven by a 40 per cent drop in shipments of mini notebooks. Desktop computers, on the other hand, saw an 8.7 per cent decline in shipments.
"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."
This is a bad sign for computer makers, which will be depending on third and fourth quarter sales for the majority of their profits. If the fourth quarter with its traditionally strong Christmas season is equally as bad, then PC makers could be in for a tough time ahead.
HP stayed at the top, despite all of the talk of selling its PC business, but shipments were down from 3.645 million units in the third quarter of 2010 to 3.371 million units in third quarter of 2011, a drop of 7.5 per cent. Despite this its market share grew from 21.8 per cent to 22.7 per cent, ensuring its leading position.
Acer was in second place, but it saw the worst drop, with shipments down from 4.095 million to 2.248 million units, a massive 45.1 per cent decline. As a result its market share shrank from 24.5 per cent to just 15.2 per cent. Further losses in subsequent quarters could push it down the ranks.
Asus rose above Dell to take third place with a 20.3 per cent increase in shipments, up from 1.302 million to 1.567 million units. Its market share also grew from 7.8 per cent to 10.6 per cent.
Dell came in fourth with a 10 per cent drop in shipments, down from 1.613 million to 1.452 million units. Despite this its market share grew from 9.6 per cent to 9.8 per cent.
Apple saw 19.6 per cent growth, with shipments up from 947,000 units to 1.132 million units. Its market share also grew from 5.7 per cent to 7.6 per cent.
The rest of the industry saw a 1.6 per cent decline in shipments, which isn't a major loss, but when coupled with the significant drops at three of the top five players, particularly Asus, that leaves an 11.4 per cent decline in the Western Europe market.
When just the UK market is taken on its own the drop is 10.8 per cent, while the French and German markets fell by 2.1 per cent and 7.9 per cent, respectively. µ