Western European PC sales fall again

Europe's PC market continues to suffer from poor consumer and corporate demand, but there may be a recovery later this year

The second quarter of 2002 saw a further drop in sales of PCs in Europe, according to research released on Friday. A recovery, driven by corporate spending, could be imminent, though.

Analyst group IDC's latest figures show that Europe's PC market is continuing to suffer poor demand from both consumers and from enterprise customers. Western European PC sales in the second quarter of 2002 were down 6 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

"The lack of corporate rebound continued to prevent a return to positive growth in the three largest European markets, with France suffering the most from the lack of business investment, as well as weak consumer demand, while the UK and the Nordic region benefited from higher market confidence," reported IDC.

IDC believes the drop in PC sales is due to firms being reluctant to spend money on new technology in the current financial climate, on top of a slowdown in consumer spending. "Cautious attitudes continued to prevail in the business sector, while consumer spending slowed further compared with the first quarter," said IDC.

IDC added that PC sales in May -- traditionally a weak month for consumer sales -- were lower than usual, partly due to the distraction of the World Cup.

PC sales in Eastern Europe, though, rose some 13 percent in Q2 2002, while in the Middle East and Africa they rose by 17 percent.

IDC is cautious in its predictions for the rest of this year, but believes there will be an improvement in PC sales to businesses.

"The outlook for the coming quarters remains uncertain. Though the rebound in corporate investments is expected to help the market return to slightly healthier trends towards the end of the year, consumer demand will remain very volatile," said Karine Paoli, IDC's personal computing expertise centre manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

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