It's not fashionable to report an increase in PC shipments, but research company IDC reckons that second quarter sales in its Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region grew by 9.1 percent to 25.2 million in this year's second quarter. Although the market was being compared with an 8.4 percent slump in the second quarter last year, IDC had only been predicting a 5.6 percent increase.
Most of the growth came in the Central and Eastern European region, where shipments increased by 25.1 percent thanks to "an aggressive vendor push in the region," IDC said in a statement. This includes 3.96 million units shipped in Russia.
Growth in Western Europe "remained moderate at 4.1 percent, affected by continued softness in consumer demand, while commercial demand also slowed down". In the UK, growth was negative.
Much of the change was probably due to the recovery at Acer. In last year's second quarter, its shipments slumped by 37.8 percent due to inventory in the channel. In this year's Q2, Acer shipped an extra million PCs, representing a growth of 32.7 percent.
HP continued to lead the market, shipping 4.8m PCs (down 4.5 percent) for a market share of 19.2 percent. Acer Group, Asus, Dell and Lenovo made up the rest of the "Top 5", as shown in the table below. These firms were followed by Toshiba, Samsung, Apple, Sony and Fujitsu, in that order.
Asus increased its shipments by 39.2 percent to overtake Dell, the former market leader. Lenovo increased its shipments by 63.3 percent to overtake Toshiba, which only grew by 34.9 percent.
Of course, the two American companies -- HP and Dell -- have been trying to increase the profitability of their PCs while focusing more on enterprise software and services. The Asian companies -- Acer and Asus from Taiwan, and Lenovo from China -- have focused more on increasing their market share through low prices.
It looks like being a slow summer. However, IDC says: "New ultra-book and ultra-slim products have come to market, but consumer spending continues to be geared toward other devices, tablets or phones, and the market remains very price sensitive or in a 'wait and see' mode and therefore more receptive to lower price points for the time being. However, the Windows 8 launch in October, combined with the expected push from vendors on ultra-slim models, will help revive consumer traction and drive a rebound during the back-to-school and Christmas seasons."