Falling euro slams PC market growth

UK PC sales continue to grow, but Europe is left behind as prices rise and vendors look elsewhere

The euro's continued slide meant a sluggish PC market on the continent in the last quarter, while the UK's corporate PC market showed relatively strong growth, according to new research.

A report released Wednesday by research firm Dataquest showed that economic uncertainty linked to the steady decline of the euro resulted in flat or negative growth for the top three PC makers Europe-wide.

The figures arrive as PC players such as Dell and Intel have seen their share prices slide after warning of Europe-related growth problems. Recent figures from research firm IDC also predicted slow sales into 2001, but the firm said it does not see a world PC sales slowdown.

PC shipments in the UK totalled 1.56 million units for the third quarter of 2000, 14 percent up on the same period last year. That was higher than the overall European growth rate: European shipments stood at 8.1 million units, a 9.9 percent increase over the same period last year.

In the UK Compaq was the top PC vendor, followed by Dell. Hewlett-Packard showed significant growth, fuelled by an increase in its share of the desktop-based PC market. IBM showed double-digit growth in the UK for the first time in over a year with a 34 percent increase in shipments, Dataquest said.

"The fact that the UK is outside the euro zone obviously assisted in allowing vendors to conduct business in a more stable economic environment," said Ranjit Atwal, an analyst with Gartner Dataquest's Computer Systems and Peripherals program, in a statement.

Within the euro zone, by contrast, customers faced high prices and vendors shifted their focus elsewhere in an attempt to regain profit margins. "It would be easy to see this continued lockdown as due to year 2000 issues or the slow adoption of Windows 2000, but this is not the case: the real motivation is the bottom line," stated Thomas Reuner, industry analyst with Gartner Europe.

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