PC SHIPMENTS in Western Europe fell in the first quarter by 3.1 per cent year on year to 15.5 million units.
A report from Gartner said that PC purchases are being deferred until the arrival of systems based on Intel's Ivy Bridge architecture. "This quarter had a 'wait and see' feel to it, as many retailers were awaiting Intel's Ivy Bridge-based Ultrabooks and the arrival of Windows 8-based PCs. Intel is already promoting the Ultrabooks, but there are questions if consumers see the difference, and more importantly, pay the higherprice point," said Meike Escherich, principal analyst at Gartner.
According to Gartner, the PC markets in Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain were the worst hit. "Although we saw moderate growth in professional PC shipments, the overall PC market in Western Europe showed a decline," said Escherich. "Consumers continued to focus their spending on alternative computing devices like smartphones and media tablets."
In Western Europe, the professional PC market was found to have declined 2.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2012, but there was some good news as increasing Windows 7 deployments boosted demand for replacement PCs. Overall, the European consumer PC market declined 3.8 per cent year-on-year. Mobile PC shipments decreased 5.1 per cent, while desk-based PC shipments were driven by better demand in the professional PC market, which exhibited 0.3 per cent growth.
HP saw strong sales of professional PCs and maintained its number one position in Western Europe, Gartner noted. Although Acer remained in the number two spot, the vendor still seemed to be in transition and "suffering from major management changes at a country level". Asus claimed the number three position, demonstrating that the wide variety of mobile PCs it sells through retail remained attractive to consumers. Lenovo was the fastest-growing vendor with growth of 34.6 per cent. Lenovo's decision to expand its consumer and business presence with an aggressive pricing strategy is paying off, according to the report.
For the UK, Gartner found that the market totaled 3 million PC units in the first quarter, an increase of 2.4 per cent compared with the equivalent period last year. The desk-based segment showed the greatest increase with a rise of 7.2 per cent as a result of strong sales in the all-in-one segment, while the mobile segment decreased 0.3 per cent.
"After a decline of 16 per cent in 2011, the UK PC market showed stability in terms of shipment volume," said Ranjit Atwal,research director at Gartner. "Shipments of professional PCs grew 3.2 per centin the first quarter of 2012, but it remains to be seen if this is a sign of real demand or just inventory refreshment." µ