Compaq is UK number one

But European business PC sales remain sluggish until 2001, say new figures

Compaq regained the number one position in the UK PC market for the third quarter of this year, but overall European market growth was hampered by a continued stagnation of business demand, according to preliminary figures from IDC.

IDC found European growth for the third quarter was 11.7 percent year on year, though Eastern Europe and Africa grew more quickly. France and Germany were the worst hit by sluggish corporate sales, with France showing declining year-on-year server sales. The UK, however, showed sustained business sales and a clear corporate rebound, IDC said.

"If we are starting to see desktop and server investments slowly picking up, we do not expect any significant rebound in business demand and/or Windows 2000 rollouts before the first half of 2001," said Karine Paoli, manager of IDC's EMEA Personal Computing group, in a prepared statement.

The numbers confirm a warning made by manufacturers such as Intel and Dell in recent weeks, that the European market is stuck in the doldrums. Such warnings have taken a massive hit on the market prices of many PC and microprocessor companies and led to fears of declining demand for PCs worldwide. However, IDC does not see a worldwide PC market slowdown, saying that growth problems are mainly company-specific.

IDC found the worldwide PC market grew 18.3 percent year-on-year for the quarter, on volume of 33.3 million units.

Compaq led the EMEA (Europe, Middle-East and Africa) market as well as the UK, buoyed by a rebounding corporate market in the UK, stronger market positioning and double-digit notebook sales. However, slow commercial desktop and server sales resulted in a mere 7.9 percent year-on-year growth for the region. Compaq had a 16.3 percent share in EMEA.

Fujitsu-Siemens was second in the region with a 10.4 percent share, despite negative growth as a result of a downturn in the German PC market. Dell followed up with a 9.1 percent share and 4.1 percent year-on-year growth.

Dell suffered from the slow corporate rebound and soft performance in the UK, according to IDC, making it difficult to sustain double-digit growth.

IBM and HP, with respectively 8.5 percent and 8.1 percent of the EMEA market, showed impressive growth with 21.9 percent and 30.1 percent respectively. Continuing strength of consumer sales pushed IBM into the number two spot in France and Italy.

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