'Make or break' point for PC makers as shipments fall further in Europe

Number of PC shipments to Western Europe continue to decline for every PC manufacturer except Lenovo.
Written by Nick Heath, Contributor

The number of PCs shipped in Western Europe continues to fall, with an almost 20 percent year-on-year slump during the second quarter of this year.

The number of units shipped fell to 10.9 million, with a decrease in major countries across the region, according to the estimated figures from analyst house Gartner.

"Most PC vendors have shifted their investment from consumer PCs to tablets/hybrid form factors," Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. "The challenge for them is how to protect their current PC market position while competing in a very competitive and fast-moving alternative mobile device segment."

Gartner analysts are predicting a slight resurgence in PC shipments during the fourth quarter of the year, spurred on by the introduction of high-end ultrabooks running Windows 8.1 and with Intel Haswell processors, as well as from sales of budget devices running the new family of Intel Atom processors. However these shipments will "not fully compensate for the ongoing decline of the PC market", according to Escherich.

The decline in consumer PC shipments could be partially explained by vendors clearing stock in preparation for Haswell machines being launched later this year, said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.

"After several depressing years the PC vendors are now at a make or break point in this industry," Atwal said in a statement. "The product transition involving both hardware and the upgrade of Windows 8.1 needs to reverse the steep declines we have seen in the PC market."

Mobile and desktop shipments in Western Europe were down 23.9 percent year-on-year. Numbers shipped to both the business and consumer market fell, down 13.5 percent and 25.8 percent respectively.

Chinese PC maker Lenovo was the only top 10 PC manufacturer to experience double digit growth in shipments year-on-year, up 18.9 percent, and climbing to become the third-largest shipper of PCs to the region.

Other vendors saw a decline in shipments, with Acer reducing its numbers by almost 45 percent from 2012 as it shifted its portfolio from netbooks to Android tablets, according to Gartner.

Vendor Q2 13 shipments  2Q13 Market Share  2Q12 Shipments  2Q12 Market Share

2Q12-2Q13 Growth 

HP  2.28m  20.8%  2.76m  20.2%  -17.4%
Acer  1.3m  11.9%  2.362m  17.3%  -44.7%
Lenovo  1.258m  11.5%  1.058m  7.8%  18.9%
Dell  1.172m  10.7%  1.185m  8.7%  -1.10%
Asus  850,000  7.8%  1.458m  10.7%  -41.70%
Others  4.077m  37.3%  4.820m  35.3%  -15.40%
Total  10.942m  100%  13.643m  100%  -19.8%

Regional breakdown

The fall in PC shipments in the UK marked the 11th consecutive quarter of decline for the country, according to Gartner. During that time the country's notebook market has shrunk by nearly 25 percent in unit volume.

While the fall in consumer PC shipments was similar to Western Europe, the drop in PCs shipped to businesses was far lower than the regional average, down just two percent, a difference Gartner said was down to businesses migrating to Windows 7, ahead of Windows XP going out of support in April 2014.

France experienced the weakest PC growth of the three major countries in Western Europe during the second quarter of 2013, with two million units shipped, a decrease of 19.1 percent.

The mobile PC market accounted for 64 percent of PC shipments in the country, while desktop PC numbers were down 15 percent year-on-year.

PC shipments to Germany during the quarter were slightly above France, standing at 2.1 million units, a year-on-year decrease of 18.7 percent.

Mobile PC shipments declined 24.5 percent, while desktop PC volumes decreased 10.3 percent in the second quarter of 2013 compared to the year before. Desktops were supported by sales of "all in one" models, which grew 29 per cent in volume year-on-year.

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