UK PC sales surpass analysts' hopes

IDC says that PC sales for the second quarter were better than expected, but full recovery will have to wait until corporates begin spending again

PC sales for the past quarter have been slightly better than expected, according to research company IDC. They were helped by steady consumer sales, particularly in the notebook market, as well as lower prices, strong products and vendor competition. But IDC said that the market will not return to a healthy growth pattern until corporate sales recover, which is not expected to happen before the end of this year or early next year.

Sales for the second quarter declined 0.7 percent compared with the same quarter last year, IDC said, a smaller decline than predicted.

Corporations are still restraining themselves where it comes to buying PCs, with sales limited to essential hardware renewals, IDC said. Sales to small and medium businesses, and to the public sector, helped to keep sales from declining, and the market recorded flat year-on-year growth for the first time since the second quarter of last year.

Consumer desktop sales fell 12.4 percent, partly because of a slow period in the PC sales cycle, exacerbated by lower consumer confidence and such events as the World Cup and the Golden Jubilee celebrations. However, notebooks gained sales and market share, as mobile products dropped in price.

"Healthier trends are expected to be driven by a rebound in corporate investments and a boost in notebook sales through the advancement of broadband and wireless technology," said IDC analyst Rita Sfeir, in a statement.

HP moved into the No. 1 vendor spot in the UK due to its acquisition of Compaq, while Dell fell a spot to No. 2. NEC CI moved up to third, with 2.4 percent year-on-year growth. Toshiba came in at No. 4 and maintained its lead in the notebook market, where it saw 18 percent yearon-year growth.

See the Hardware News Section for the latest update on everything from MP3 players and PDAs to supercomputing.

Have your say instantly, and see what others have said. Go to the ZDNet news forum.

Let the editors know what you think in the Mailroom.