According to Dataquest market research, UK sales grew 13.2 per cent depite overall European growth just 6.8 per cent up on the year earlier. That equaled 3.55 million units shipped, compared to 3.33 million for the second quarter of 1995 and had researchers looking right back to Q3 1993 for more dismal numbers.
However, DQ staffers didn't have to look too far for reasons, with all fingers pointing to Germany, as they did a month ago when retail giant Escom crashed. The German market was almost flat at 811,000 units, less than four figures up on 1996, reflecting a general economic slowdown and fading interest from the consumer and corporate markets.
By contrast, the UK increased to 730,000 units, even though the growth looked lukewarm when compared to Dataquest's figure of 20.4 per cent growth for Q1.
Paolo Puppoli, European PC market analyst at Dataquest, said that there plenty of reasons to be optimistic for the future. "The drive towards a single currency placed limits on disposable income and general economic performance, particularly in Germany, hurt the consumer channel. Despite people talking about problems, I expect consumer sales to grow and the UK to continue to perform well."
Putting the European stats into stark contrast was the fact that US growth remained healthy at 12 per cent. Until very recently, Europe had been seen as a markedly faster growing market than the US.