Gartner reports continued growth in PC sales

Year-on-year growth has been strong in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, but the US shows minimal growth in PC shipments

Worldwide PC unit sales continued to grow significantly in the second quarter of this year, according to analysts at Gartner, although revenues remain affected by declining prices.

According to Gartner's preliminary results, released on Thursday, 71.9 million PCs were shipped in the second quarter of 2008, up 16 percent from the corresponding quarter in 2007. Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) showed particularly strong growth, with 23.1 million units shipped — 23.5 percent up on the same quarter last year. Shipments to the US, by contrast, showed only 4.2 percent growth.

"The PC market in EMEA has beaten off the economic anguish," said Gartner analyst Ranjit Atwal. "We have only ever seen the PC market exhibit growth above 20 percent once before in the past five years. However, the strong performance was mainly driven by declining average selling prices, which will impact revenues, margins and ultimately drive more consolidation."

In the EMEA region, HP took top spot in the second quarter, with 4.5 million units shipped, reflecting year-on-year growth of 28.3 percent. By far the largest year-on-year growth, however, came from Asus, which became one of the top five PC manufacturers in EMEA for the first time.

With sales of 1.3 million units, Asus enjoyed growth of 159.1 percent and took fifth place behind HP, Acer, Dell and Toshiba. According to Gartner, Asus's success was helped along by sales of the manufacturer's Eee PC range.

In EMEA, five percent of all mobile PCs shipped in the second quarter were mini-notebooks, Gartner said. Machines in this category, also know as 'netbooks', are typified by sub-£250, ultraportable devices such as the Asus Eee. In the US, by contrast, these accounted for less than three percent of mobile PC shipments.