Windows 8 fails to save dwindling PC market in Western Europe

The broader availability of Microsoft's latest operating sytem has done little to prop up the ailing PC market in Western Europe.
Written by Sam Shead, Contributor

The PC market in Western Europe declined by 20.5 percent in the first quarter of 2013 despite the debut of Windows 8 on an increasing number of devices.

The figures, released on Wednesday by IT analyst Gartner, revealed that the total number of PCs shipped in Western Europe over the first quarter of this year was 12.3 million and that sales were continuing to fall year-on year as smartphones and tablets become increasingly popular.

"The first quarter of 2013 brought the worst quarterly decline in Western Europe since Gartner started tracking PC shipments in this region," said Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner, on Wednesday.  

"Wide availability of Windows 8-based PCs could not boost consumer PC purchases during the quarter. Although the new Metro-style user interface suits new form factors, users wonder about its suitability for traditional PCs — non-touchscreen desktops and notebooks."

Mobile and desktop PC shipments were down 24.6 percent and 13.8 percent respectively. Meanwhile, the professional PC and consumer PC markets were down 17.2 percent and 23.7 percent respectively.

HP remained the market leader in Western Europe with 19.7 percent of the market, while Acer held on to second place with 11.7 percent. However, both companies saw their overall PC market shrink in the region by more than 30 percent.

Lenovo and Apple were the only companies out of the top five vendors to achieve growth in Western Europe.

Lenovo, which recorded the third-highest market share in Western Europe with 11.6 percent, claimed share in the consumer PC market from both Acer and HP, according to the report. The company also competed well with HP and Dell in the professional PC market. 

"The battle for consumer wallet share continues between different devices," Escherich said. "The PC is the first to fall by the wayside as usage patterns shift toward smartphones and tablets. This ongoing trend will have a profound impact on the size of the installed base of PCs."

Gartner Western Europe PC sales Q1 2013

In a report released in January, Gartner claimed that the fall of the PC and the rise of the tablet was causing billions to be sucked out of overall IT spend


A total of 2.5 million PCs were shipped in the UK in the first quarter of 2013, a fall of 15.8 percent on the previous year.

Consumer and professional PC sales fell by 23.5 percent and 7.5 percent respectively in the UK.

HP retained its position as the market leader in the UK despite losing nearly a quarter of its PC volume in a single year. Meanwhile, Acer experienced a decline of 26.6 percent. Lenovo was the only vendor in the UK to achieve growth after it performed well in the professional PC market.


A total of just over 2 million PCs were shipped in France in the first quarter of 2013, a decline of 25 percent on the corresponding period in 2012.

"We expect the PC market in France to show a double-digit decline in the second quarter of 2013," said Isabelle Durand, principal analyst at Gartner.


PC sales in Germany were 2.6 million in the first quarter of 2013, a fall of 20 percent on the same period a year earlier.

Lenovo took over as the PC market leader in Germany in the third quarter of 2012 and held onto that lead in the first quarter of this year.  

"We expect this market to decline further through 2013. However, demand in the professional PC sector and the release of Intel's 'Haswell' processor could boost shipments in the second half of 2013 and into 2014,"  Escherich said.

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