PC sales slump in the UK and Europe, says Gartner

PC sales slump in the UK and Europe, says Gartner

Summary: Netbook shipments in Western Europe halved in this year's second quarter, with problems at the market-leading Acer contributing to a major market slump, according to Gartner's provisional estimates. The industry research company reckons that, in this geographical area, PC shipments fell by 18.

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TOPICS: Tech Industry
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Netbook shipments in Western Europe halved in this year's second quarter, with problems at the market-leading Acer contributing to a major market slump, according to Gartner's provisional estimates. The industry research company reckons that, in this geographical area, PC shipments fell by 18.9 percent to 12.7 million units compared with the same period in 2010, while UK shipments fell by 15.0 percent to 2.5 million units.

Acer's inventory problems had an impact on shipments, rather than actual sales, so the situation may look worse than it is. But it's definitely not good. Even Apple only managed to increase its shipments by 0.5 percent.

Gartner reports that "the mobile PC market was particularly hit hard with a 20.4 percent decline, as mini-notebook [ie netbook] shipments decreased 53 percent". However, shipments of desktop PCs also fell by 15.4 percent year-on-year, hurting HP and, in particular, Dell. Gartner principal analyst Meike Escherich said in a statement:

"The much anticipated uptake in the professional segment, in the wake of migration to Windows 7, was subdued by the negative economic outlook. PC shipments in the professional segment declined 9 percent in the second quarter of 2011. The biggest decline continued to come from the consumer segment which decreased 27 percent year-on-year."

In Western Europe, HP regained the top spot as its shipments slipped by 6.1 percent to 3.2 million units, while Acer dropped to second with shipments falling by 44.6 percent to 2.0 million units. The rest of the Top 5 comprised Dell (1.4m units, -12.7 percent), Asus (1.0m units, -22.9 percent) and Apple (0.9m units, +0.5 percent). Apple's market share increased from 5.6 percent to 7.0 percent.

UK: PC Shipments Fell Further Due to Acer’s Steep Decline

In the UK, Samsung was the most successful PC supplier, in that its shipments grew by 5.2 percent. HP became the market leader, shipping 530,000 PCs, which was 10.7 percent down on last year's Q2. It was followed by Dell (408,000, -11.8 percent), Acer (341,000 -47.4 percent), Samsung (181,000, +5.2 percent), and Apple (170,000, +1.0 percent). "Others" shipped 832,000 units, a decline of 2.4 percent.

Gartner noted that "the poor performance of Acer this quarter does not mask the fact that the consumer market in the UK remained weak". Gartner principal analyst Isabelle Durand said: "Most consumers continue to hold back spending on PCs by extending life cycles on existing PCs and purchasing other devices."

UK PC shipments in Q2 2011

In Germany, PC shipments fell by 13.3 percent to 2.4 million units, with Acer shipments plunging by 43.1 percent. The Top 5 were, in order, HP, Acer, Dell, Medion and Asus. HP was the most successful supplier in Germany, increasing its shipments by 33.8 percent to 445,000 units. Gartner said: "Demand in the professional PC market has improved as organizations released budgets to migrate aging PCs to Windows 7. HP in particular seemed to benefit from this upturn in the professional market."

In France, PC shipments fell by 17.8 percent to 2.4 million units, with Acer shipments plunging by 39.6 percent. The Top 5 were, in order, HP, Acer, Asus, Dell and Apple. Gartner saw a 9 percent growth in the professional market, but said the French consumer PC market "declined 33 percent partly due to the rise in popularity of media tablets and smartphones, which impacted PC purchases."

The PC market in Western Europe is mostly a replacement market: people who want or need PCs already have them. There has been some growth as consumers have bought a netbook as their second or third PC, but the third or fourth device now looks more likely to be something different.

@jackschofield

Topic: Tech Industry

Jack Schofield

About Jack Schofield

Jack Schofield spent the 1970s editing photography magazines before becoming editor of an early UK computer magazine, Practical Computing. In 1983, he started writing a weekly computer column for the Guardian, and joined the staff to launch the newspaper's weekly computer supplement in 1985. This section launched the Guardian’s first website and, in 2001, its first real blog. When the printed section was dropped after 25 years and a couple of reincarnations, he felt it was a time for a change....

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4 comments
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  • Not really too surprising, especially as new PCs have bucked the trend and increased in price as well as power. I think, too, that a lot of people will be doing what I'm about to do - upgrading. Switching to 64bit from 32 is a viable and cost-effective option, and memory is still cheap (when I got my first PC is was £25 a MB). A more powerful processor needn't cost a lot for most users, ditto improved cooling and a bigger HDD. Especially as - writing from the perspective of a disabled person who has been unable to work for decades - the cost can be spread over a few months.

    I've got all the above bits, and a new OS (Win7) - just waiting for a good day, physically, to install it.

    I have an Acer Aspire One 531h netbook as a backup/take-along machine and, while I'm occasionally tempted by tablets, I simply cannot see the point. Mucky fingernarks are bad enough on my smartphone, I sure as hell don't want them all over a computer screen - and where the hell is the lid! ;) Still, maybe people will finally have an emperor's new clothes moment, and the tablet bubble will burst.
    ronwgraves
  • @ronwgraves

    When I hd my first (IBM) PC, memory cost £2,000 per megabyte ;-)

    I agree with you about tablets, and I think netbooks have been very unexciting for the past couple of years. However, the Sandy Bridge Core iX chips are great, so I might spring for some new kit when the Ivy Bridge versions arrive/look affordable.
    Jack Schofield
  • Also.....a lot of Vista towers and laptops are being positively recycled and are appearing with Windows 7 on them.
    roger andre
  • @roger andre

    Good point: it's an easy upgrade.
    Jack Schofield